HOW TO FIND:
WHERE AND HOW TO FIND CICADAS: Perhaps some of you are wondering how I obtain most of my cicada photos or simply would like to observe this wonderful insect up close? Well, here are some tips...
LOCATING THE MAGICICADA: Locating members of this genus is actually very easy. There are no tricks involved at all. Merely check out my "Brood Maps" link on this site and it will give you maps of when and where they will appear. And if you are in/or near an emergence area... Not to worry, they won't be hard to find! Simply follow the constant sound to the nearest woodlands and you'll find thousands, perhaps millions all at once! Talk about cicada overload, ah? Magicicadas prefer forest clearings which is where you'll find the majority of the population. They always appear in large numbers in order to satiate predators and can be found on the ground, on fences, grasses, houses, and especially in trees.
Since Magicicadas are "predator foolhardy," they won't be hard to collect. Most occasions, you can walk right up to them and pick them up. They won't bite or sting you, but if it's a male cicada, be forewarned... It will give off an alarming "squawk!" If the first one you see flies away, don't be worried, that's just their instinct for survival. Cicadas are like people, some are smarter than others. Keep looking, there will be more. And remember, Magicicadas begin appearing in late April to early May in the Southern states and late May to early June in the Northern states. Once they start emerging, they will be around for approximately six weeks....
LOCATING THE NEOTIBICEN: Now here's a real challenge! Neotibicens are found across much of the country and begin appearing in late June to mid-July and will continue to emerge as late as early September. Neotibicens are NOT predator foolhardy like their Magicicada cousins. With the approach of danger, Neotibicens take off in a hurry! Often when I accidentally stumble across one, if it's a male, it will give off a shrill audible alarm, prior to taking to wing. Neotibicens are noisy flyers and are clumsy when it comes to landing. When they flap their wings, the sound reminds me of placing a playing card into the spokes of a bike. When they come to a suitable tree, they can be heard crashing through the smaller twigs before resting on a branch. Neotibicens often don't believe in evasive maneuvers.
When I was younger, I used to climb the trees where a male or two was singing and slowly climbed toward the noisy insect. I moved very slowly. Too quick of movements would startle them. Once I was within several feet of the insect, I would wait patiently. While the male sings, he usually walks about in between notes. When the cicada crawled within reaching distance, I would cup my hands and lash out. 50% of the time I was successful in catching them with my bare hands. The male would give off an alarm call which is a constant screeching, enough to attract the attention from all your neighbors. Since male Neotibicens are larger than Magicicadas, their alarm calls or "squawks" are twice as loud and you can feel the vibration from their sounds traveling through your fingers. If you absolutely have to climb the trees, use a standard butterfly net. However, I wouldn't suggest climbing trees at all. This method can be extremely dangerous and possibly cause serious injury if you fall. I recommend you DO NOT CLIMB THE TREES! DO NOT CLIMB THE TREES!
Sometimes Neotibicens will sit and sing on smaller trees and lower vegetation. If you hunt for these Neotibicens using a long handled butterfly net, remember to MOVE VERY SLOW. Slow movements will not startle them and just inch towards them a little at a time. You will be rewarded by your patience.
The best method in locating the Neotibicen is by catching them prior to or just after they emerge from their last nymphal skin. Pine trees are a favorite among some Neotibicens, so check in neighborhoods where older pine trees are located. Neotibicens have adapted well to city life. So finding them in towns won't be too hard. Also check in areas such as parks or cemeteries where the older trees are virtually undisturbed. You'll probably find the best emergences there. Neotibicens generally emerge at night when their predators are the least active. Since most cities and cemeteries prohibit night time visitors, you can actually find them emerging after 5:00pm (1700 hours) or very early in the morning after sunrise. Only rarely will they emerge during the mid-afternoon. The closer to nightfall, the better your chances of locating a nymph crawling across the ground or one clinging to a tree trunk ready to emerge or already partially emerged. Check under those trees where their shells are found in good numbers. Once you locate a few shells, keep checking daily and nightly... Chances are more will emerge under this same tree. Another great time to check would be after a rain fall or when the ground is damp. Nymphs seem to emerge better when the ground is moist and their emergence holes will become more apparent. This is also the reason Magicicadas build their chimneys prior to their emergence in order to elude this ground moisture. Since Neotibicens don't build huts (At least, I have never located one!), they'll simply emerge and begin their adult life.
PLEASE NOTE: Do NOT disturb a cicada if their molting process has already begun. Outside interference can prevent the cicada from eclosing successfully, cause deformities on the insect's body, or even death. This is a very delicate moment in the cicada's life, please appreciate their beauty and be patient. Once their wings expand and dry, you'll have a perfect specimen. Like other cicada species, they won't be strong flyers for a couple of hours. Neotibicens can fly somewhat even before their bodies have completely hardened or turned dark. So don't be careless in your handling of them at this later stage. If you locate a nymph crawling across the ground, be gentle and pick it up. Place it on a tree or a firm plant and watch it molt before your very eyes! It's a fascinating sight to behold! Cicadas can be found molting an inch to over thirty feet off the ground. If you must go hunting at night, use a bright flash light. A Neotibicen's white body and glossy wings will reflect the lights and be very noticeable. If anyone has any questions about my locating methods, please send me an e-mail!