State seeking volunteers to help map cicada range

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Wildlife Division is seeking volunteers to help investigate the range of periodical cicadas in Connecticut.

Brood II cicadas, last seen in Connecticut in1996, are expected to emerge in the next few weeks, especially in broad-leaved forests associated with traprock ridges in New Haven, Hartford and Middlesex counties.

Volunteers are needed to visit multiple sites during the day and during good weather, listening for the presence of cicadas, collecting individuals for positive documentation, and collecting GPS coordinates of locations sampled. The study area is the periphery of their established range, primarily north of Meriden and within the Connecticut River Valley. Volunteers will be provided with training in the identification of the cicada and the protocols followed during the emergence. Those who would like to be part of the team to survey during the six-week period should contact deep.ctwildlife@ct.gov or call the Wildlife Division’s Sessions Woods office at (860) 675-8130.

Those interested in seeing the cicadas can visit Hubbard Park in Meriden, Ragged Mountain in Southington and Berlin and Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden. By early July, the noise will subside. The nymphs of the next generation will hatch from eggs and burrow into the ground by late summer to begin another 17-year cycle.

In addition to volunteers to visit sites, Chris Maier, entomologist with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, is asking anyone who finds a colony in Avon, Haven, Newington, Rocky Hill or West Hartford to contact him at (203) 974-8476 or at: chris.maier@ct.gov. DEEP is funding Maier’s research into cicadas this year, which will involve locating populations that have not been recorded during the last two emergences. Maier has been studying cicadas for the last three decades.

Cicadas do not bite or sting, nor do they damage garden plantings, DEEP said in a news release. The average homeowner should have no concerns about potential tree damage caused by the females laying eggs in small twigs. Cicadas should not be destroyed through the use of insecticides.

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