Today, the Your Wild Life team took a cicada safari to Greensboro to collect some dead cicadas for the Urban Buzz project. We figured we couldn’t ask you all to do the heavy lift, without contributing a few data points ourselves.

And in the process of collecting, we learned a few things:

  1.  As we noted on our first trip to Greensboro, dead cicadas are pretty easy to come by – We had good luck finding them near the edge of yards, close to curbs, and under “mother-lode” trees where emergence had been particularly intense (as evident by piles of nymph exuviae – also known as the shells).

    Dead cicadas were easy to find near trees where emergence had been dense. Photo credit: Holly Menninger

  2. Wandering around a cicada-filled neighborhood and not sure where to stop and collect? Follow the flagging! This is the term for cicada-induced damage at the tips of tree branches. When females use their saw-like ovipositor to cut small slits and lay eggs in twigs (they prefer those about the diameter of a pencil), they weaken the branch tip. The leaves at the end will die and turn brown. The damage is typically not enough to harm or kill a tree, and gives a good visual cue that periodical cicadas have been busy in your area.