Are Cicadas Coming to North Texas?

cicadas in north texas

Cicadas, those fascinating insects known for their distinctive, buzzing choruses that mark the arrival of summer, have long been subjects of intrigue and study.

Texas, with its vast landscapes and diverse ecosystems, plays host to several species of cicadas.

Each year, residents and enthusiasts alike wonder whether they will witness the emergence of these periodic creatures.

This article delves into the expectations for cicadas in North Texas in 2024, exploring their lifecycle, the difference between annual and periodical cicadas, and what Texans might experience this year.

Understanding Cicadas

Before we explore the prospects for 2024, it’s essential to understand the unique and fascinating characteristics of cicadas and their lifecycle.

Cicadas are known for their large, bulging compound eyes set wide apart, which provide them with excellent vision.

Their bodies are elongated and somewhat robust, often featuring vibrant colors ranging from greens and browns to black, with some species adorned with striking patterns or markings.

Cicadas possess transparent, membranous wings with delicate veins that allow for efficient flight, and their wingspan can range from a few centimeters to several inches, depending on the species.

Additionally, cicadas have three pairs of legs, with the front pair typically modified for digging and gripping onto surfaces and are also known for their loud calls, which males produce to attract females.

They belong to the order Hemiptera and are divided into two main groups: annual (or dog-day) cicadas and periodical cicadas.

Annual Cicadas

Annual cicadas emerge each summer, typically from late June through August, hence the name “dog-day” cicadas, referencing the dog days of summer.

Unlike their periodical counterparts, annual cicadas have shorter lifespans and do not synchronize their emergences in massive numbers.

The lifecycle of annual cicadas spans 2 to 5 years, with nymphs living underground and feeding on sap from tree roots before emerging as adults to mate and lay eggs.

Despite their sometimes deafening calls, annual cicadas are a quintessential part of the summer experience, their presence marking the passage of time and the arrival of warmer weather.

Periodical Cicadas

Emerging in massive numbers at intervals of either 13 or 17 years, these cicadas spend the majority of their lives underground as nymphs, feeding on sap from tree roots.

When the time is right, they emerge synchronously in vast numbers, creating a spectacle that is both awe-inspiring and deafening.

Periodical cicadas are divided into different broods, each identified by a Roman numeral, and their emergences are highly anticipated events.

While their lifespan above ground is relatively short, lasting only a few weeks, the sheer numbers of periodical cicadas have significant ecological impacts, providing a feast for predators and contributing to nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems.

What to Expect in 2024

2024 is a big year for cicadas. For the first time in 221 years, two broods that belong to two different species of periodical cicadas will emerge at the same time, with one brood having been underground for 13 years and the other for 17 years.

The broods emerging are Brood XIII and Brood XIX. With both the periodical broods as well as the annual cicadas, billions of cicadas will be emerging this year in the Midwestern and Southern states. But what does this mean for North Texas?

North Texas predominantly experiences annual cicada emergencies each summer, with their distinctive song providing a soundtrack to the season.

However, Texas has also been known to witness the emergence of periodical cicadas, specifically from the smaller 13-year broods.

As of 2024, North Texas is not expected to see a significant emergence of periodical cicadas, as the major broods associated with Texas emerged in previous years.

However, this does not mean Texas will be devoid of cicada activity. The annual cicadas will still emerge, filling the summer air with their buzzing calls.

These cicadas, while less synchronized and numerous than their periodical counterparts, still play a crucial role in the local ecosystem, serving as a food source for various predators.

The Significance of Cicadas

Ecological Role

Cicadas, both annual and periodical, play essential roles in their ecosystems.

Their nymphs aerate the soil as they tunnel underground, and their emergence provides a feast for predators, including birds, snakes, and even fish, as cicadas often fall into bodies of water.

The periodical cicadas, in particular, contribute significantly to the nutrient cycle, as the mass death of adults provides a substantial nutrient influx to the forest floor.

Human Interaction

For Texans, the emergence of cicadas can be a curiosity, a nuisance, or even a cause for celebration.

Their loud calls can reach up to 100 decibels, equivalent to a motorcycle passing close by, which can be disruptive for some.

However, many also appreciate the unique natural spectacle and the reminder of the rhythms of the natural world.

Tips For North Texans During Cicada Season

For those in North Texas during cicada season, here are a few tips to coexist with these insects:

Protect Young Trees

Female cicadas lay eggs in slits they make in the branches of trees. If you have young or newly planted plants, you might consider getting them to prevent damage.

Reduce Break-Ins

Homeowners may want to secure loose screens or seal any cracks or gaps around windows and doors to prevent cicadas from entering homes.

Wear Ear Protection

While cicadas are harmless to humans, their loud buzzing calls can be really disruptive, so individuals may choose to wear ear protection or spend more time indoors during peak cicada activity.

Use Them as a Teaching Tool

Cicadas can be a great way to spark interest in nature and science, especially among children. Their lifecycle, the sounds they make, and their role in the ecosystem can be fascinating topics to explore.

Looking Ahead

While 2024 may not bring a massive emergency of periodical cicadas to North Texas, residents can still look forward to the annual cicadas’ songs.

These insects, with their remarkable lifecycles and significant ecological roles, remind us of the complexity and wonder of nature.

If you are worried about your home during this season with cicadas, call Gecko Green or request a free quote today. 

For those interested in experiencing the larger phenomenon of periodical cicada emergences, keeping an eye on the emergence schedules and planning trips to areas where broods will emerge in the future can be a rewarding endeavor.

In the meantime, Texans can enjoy the sounds of summer provided by the annual cicadas and learn more about these intriguing insects and their place in the natural world.

Cicadas, whether annual or periodical, serve as a reminder of the enduring cycles of nature and the intricate web of life that sustains our planet.

Call for a free quote today!