• Cicadas are not dangerous as they do not bite or sting. They are neither poisonous nor venomous.
  • Male cicadas make an “ear-shattering” noise to court and attract female cicadas.
  • Cicadas make an aboveground appearance every 13 to 17 years.

Cicadas, the small insect with a strikingly noticeable sound, were in the news in 2021 and 2022 due to their reappearance. AZ Animals says the periodical cicadas that have made a buzz on news outlets are from North America. The Eastern and Southeastern U.S. are home to Brood X.

Cicadas come out in mass swarms to reproduce to survive their many predators, including “cats, dogs, birds, foxes, raccoons, and other insects,” scientists say.

Are cicadas dangerous? When exactly do the evasive bugs come out of hiding? What should you do about them?

Cicadas explained:All of your cicada questions, answered by experts

Just Curious?:We’re here to help with life’s everyday questions.

Are cicadas dangerous?

Cicadas are not dangerous. They do not bite or sting, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. They are not harmful to “humans, pets, household gardens, or crops.”

The EPA does not recommend using pesticides to keep cicadas away. Pesticides are “generally ineffective” against cicadas and, regardless, the sheer amount of cicadas will inevitably replace any warded off with pesticides.

Cicadas can be dangerous to young trees, though. The EPA explains how cicadas lay their eggs in small tree branches, potentially harming the tree. To protect your maturing saplings, cover them in mesh or netting to keep the insects out. On the upside, larger trees are not at risk.

Your “leaves, flowers, fruits, or garden produce” won’t be eaten by cicadas. Some sap may be eaten from trees and shrubs.

Keep your belongings secure:Here’s how to keep cicadas out of your stuff

What are cicadas?

Cicadas are insects ranging between one and 1.5 inches long with a wingspan “twice that length,” says the EPA. They can be identified by their black bodies, red-brown eyes and orange-veined wings. However, their most noticeable feature is their “loud courting sounds.” 

Britannica confirms male cicadas make their “ear-shattering” noises to court females. They can synchronize their songs with other cicadas to attract female cicadas, as well as establish territory.

There are over 3,000 species of cicadas, AZ Animals explains, and their infamous sounds can reach an astounding 90 decibels, “comparable to a jet airliner landing.”

Are cicadas dangerous to pets?

The EPA assures readers their pets are safe from cicadas, noting they are neither poisonous nor venomous. Your dog or cat may eat cicadas which is okay if it’s a small amount. Should your pet eat a larger quantity of cicadas, this can cause “an upset stomach or vomiting.”

Humans can eat cicadas, AZ Animals says, as they are similar to crickets. Cicadas should not, however, be “consumed by people with seafood allergies.”

Remember Brood X cicadas?There may be a few more stragglers that emerge this year

When do cicadas come out?

Cicadas, specifically “Brood X,” come up from their underground homes every 13 to 17 years, according to Prevention. Their last appearance was in 2021 (some stragglers appeared in 2022) and they won’t reappear next until 2038.

National Geographic explains out of the 3,000 different cicada species, only seven are “periodical cicadas,” meaning they come out every 13 to 17 years.