Cicada Facts Additional Insect Resources Types of Insects Types of Bugs Cicadas, insects in the Cicadidae family, sit in the larger order of true bugs called Hemiptera. With over eighty native cidada species divided into about fourteen general, they usually get classified as either periodical or annual, depending on their life cycles. Periodical cicadas (genus Magicicada), for example, live most of their life underground. Seven different species are native to eastern North America. Four species maintain a 13-year life cycle and three species maintain a 17-year life cycle. Almost every year there is a Magicicada emergence event, however, most of the emergences are limited to a small geographical area. The year 2013 looks to be an especially large emergence year as a brood is scheduled to emerge along the Eastern corridore of large population centers from New York to North Carolina. Their above ground emergence is cause for both wonder and annoyance. In large numbers they are capable of causing damage to local trees. Male cicadas are quite the vocalists. They use their tymbals, small membranes on the top of their back, to sing and attract females. In chorus, they can be loud. Apart from the noise and damage to local flora, cicadas are not a threat to humans. They do not carry diseases and their neither sting nor bite. On the bright side, a Magicicada eruption means plenty of food for local squirrels, birds, raccoons and other wildlife. The top picture shows a cicada in the genus Okanagana. They are annuals. Their dark bodies covered in orange means they can be mistaken for Magicicada species. © 2003-2010. Patricia A. Michaels.