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Cicadas in California

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Cicadas in California

I have been bitten either by a cicada (which I don't know if it stings) or some kind of tiny wasp that came in our screen alongside them. They come in at night. They have for days. There are hundreds...and one big fat one was on my back. It was green and looked like a leaf.

This is the kind we have in California here. I took one's photo.

One went down my shorts and stung me 3 times. Like I said, I'm pretty sure it was a cicada, but might be some kind of mini wasp that came in with them. Any idea? Stung like heck! Almost bad as a bee sting.


Date Posted: 2010-06-23 Comments: (5) Show Comments Hide Comments


Posted By: Massachusetts Cicadas | On: 2010-12-05 | Website:

Hi Renee

Actually, this little insect isn't a cicada at all. This is actually a leaf-hopper.

Cicadas and leaf-hoppers share some common traits. They both have wings that rest roof-like over their bodies. They both have sucking mouth parts and are xylem feeders.

Its these characteristics (and others) that make them related and places them in the order of insects known as "Hemiptera".

These are not known to sting but because they have sucking mouth parts, it may have tried to pierce your skin thinking you were a branch.

Cicadas also do this but they are not stinging or biting insects.

Hope this helps.

Posted By: Natalie | On: 2011-07-18 | Website:

I was chased yesterday by a cicada, it chased me ionto my house, it tried to enter however I closed the door just in time, today I was sitting outside and guess what another cicada flew over my head and then it turned around and begin to come right at me, I ran again, then it just flew away, I keep ready that they do not attack humans, but htey keep chasing after me, maybe they can smell fear?

Posted By: Massachusetts Cicadas | On: 2011-07-18 | Website:

Hi Natalie

That is really unusual. Cicadas don't generally chase people. It's just not in their genetic code.

Sometimes females will land on you if you are doing something like operating a weed-wacker or lawn more or power tool. They confuse the sounds of these objects for calling male cicadas.

Posted By: JF Murphy | On: 2011-08-07 | Website:

I live in the foothills of the Sierras about 60 miles northeast of Sacramento. Our cicadas look like huge house flies with extra long wings. The bodies are anywhere from 1 inch to 1 1/4 inch and the wings protrude behind the cicada for another 1/2 to 3/4 inch. The color of the body is charcoal gray and the wings are transparent. Unfortunately for them, they are quite numerous in my pool skimmer this time of year (July/August). They have no stingers or biting mouth parts...just a long tubular, extendable proboscus that they use to pierce branches to suck our sap. I know that there is a cicada wasp but I know nothing about it :(

Posted By: Massachusetts Cicadas | On: 2011-08-07 | Website:

Hi there,

Thanks for the comment. I would be very interested in seeing photos of your western cicadas. I know of several types of cicadas that are found there. Mainly cicadas from the genus, Okanagana, Platypedia and Diceroprocta.

You can report your sightings via the "Report Cicadas and Cicada Killer Wasps" form found in the right-hand column.

Regarding cicada killers, There are two types found in California, Sphecius grandis and Sphecius convallis. Below is the url of a great sight on cicada killer wasps.

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