How to Preserve a Cicada

If you’re lucky enough to find a cicada, you may want to preserve it. Here are a few tips on how to do so.

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What are Cicadas?

Cicadas are a type of arthropod whose population emerges every few years. The adult cicada only lives for a few weeks, during which time they mate. After they mate, the female cicada will lay her eggs in tree branches When the eggs hatch, the nymphs fall to the ground and burrow into the soil. They will emerge again as adults after a few years.

The Life Cycle of a Cicada

Cicadas fascinated scientists and writers long before periodical cicadas received their common name. Marcus Terentius Varro, a Roman scholar who lived from 116 to 27 BCE, noted that 13- and 17-year cicadas were observed about the same time in Italy. However, it was not until the end of the 18th century that entomologists realized that different species of cicada emerge in different years. In 1788, even before Darwin proposed his theory of evolution by natural selection, Johann August Ephraim Goeze realized that the increasingly large numbers of 13- and 17-year cicadas were successive broods emerging from the ground.

As nymphs, Cicadas spend most of their lives underground, slowly developing and maturing over a period of years until they finally emerge as adults. Depending on the species, Cicadas can spend as little as two years or up to 17 years underground! When they are ready to metamorphose into adults, nymphs climb up to a suitable point on a tree or other support and shed their exoskeletons (the old “skin” that protected them while they were growing). The newly emerging adult then breaks out of its old skin, taking a few minutes for its body to harden and for its wings to unfold and dry.

After such a long stay below ground, you might think that Cicadas would be eager to mate as soon as they reached the surface. However, males usually climb higher into trees (or other structures) to wait for females. While they are waiting, males often sing to attract females and warn off other males. When females arrive, males grasp them with special appendages called ” claspers” and bend them backwards for mating.

Why Preserve a Cicada?

While you may think that Cicadas are nothing more than a noisy insect, they are actually quite interesting creatures. For one, they have been around for millions of years and are considered a delicacy in some cultures. Additionally, their exoskeletons can be used to make jewelry and other crafts. If you find a cicada that you would like to preserve, there are a few things that you will need to do.

The Best Way to Preserve a Cicada

Whether you’re an amateur entomologist or simply enjoy discovering new and interesting insects, preserving cicadas is a great way to display and study these unique creatures. While there are many methods of preserving insects some are better than others when it comes to preserving the delicate details of a cicada’s body. Here is a step-by-step guide to preserving a cicada using the best method possible.

You will need:
-A cicada
-Rubbing alcohol
-A cotton ball
-A toothpick
-A pin
-A shallow dish
-A small jar or container with a lid

Step 1: Find a healthy, recently deceased cicada. Avoid specimens that have been dead for more than 24 hours, as they will begin to decompose and will not preserve well. If you find a living cicada, you can kill it by placing it in the freezer for several hours.

Step 2: Using a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol, gently wipe away any dirt or debris from the surface of the cicada. Be careful not to damage the fragile wings or body.

Step 3: Insert the toothpick into the abdomen of the cicada, just below the base of the wings. This will help keep the insect from curling up as it dries. You can also use apin for this purpose, but be careful not to pierce through the other side of the abdomen. If you do, internal organs may be damaged and your specimen will not look as clean and professional. Place your prepared cicada in the shallow dish. Congratulations, your specimen is now ready for preservation!

Tips for Preserving a Cicada

There are many ways to preserve a cicada. You can dry them, freeze them, or taxidermy mount them. The most common way to preserve a cicada is to dry them.

To dry a cicada, remove the legs and wings. Then, put the cicada in an oven at a very low temperature until it is completely dried out. This can take several days. Once the cicada is dried out, it can be stored in an airtight container for years.

If you want to freeze a cicada, remove the legs and wings and put the Cicada in a zip-top bag. Then, put the bag in the freezer. Cicadas can be stored in the freezer for years.

Taxidermy mounting is another option for preserving a cicada. This is a more labor intensive process, but it results in a Cicada that looks very natural and lifelike. To taxidermy mount a Cicada, remove the legs and wings and then put the Cicada into an alcohol solution. This will preserve the Cicada’s coloration. Once the Cicada is preserved, you can then mount it onto a piece of wood or cardstock using pins or glue.

How to Display Your Cicada

Cicadas are a short-lived but memorable part of summer. If you’d like to preserve your cicada for display, there are a few different methods you can try. The most important thing to remember is that you will need to act quickly after your cicada dies.

One way to preserve your cicada is to put it in a glass case or frame. This will protect it from dust and insects, and you can add a decorative background if you like. You can also suspend your cicada in alcohol. This will kill any bacteria or parasites that might be on the insect, and it will help keep the colors bright. Just be sure to use a very dilute solution of alcohol so that it doesn’t damage the cicada’s body.

If you want to preserve your cicada for future study, you can send it to a museum or entomology laboratory. They will take care of preparing and mounting the specimen for you. You can also choose to have your cicada preserved by a professional taxidermist. This is a more expensive option, but it will result in a lifelike display that will last for many years.

FAQs about Preserving Cicadas

Assuming you would like tips on how to preserve a cicada:

Cicadas are insects that spend most of their lives underground, only emerging every few years for a short time. When they do emerge, they mate and then die soon after. Their bodies are delicate and can be easily squished, so you need to take care when handling them. If you want to preserve a cicada, there are a few things you can do.

The most important thing to remember is that you need to work quickly. Cicadas start to decompose soon after they die, so you need to act fast if you want to preserve one. Here are some tips on how to preserve a cicada:

-Lay the cicada on a flat surface and carefully remove any dirt or debris from its body. You can use a soft brush or your fingers for this.
-Using sharp scissors, snip off the cicada’s wings at the base of its body. You can also remove the legs if you want, but this isn’t necessary.
-Place the cicada in a jar or container filled with alcohol. You can use vodka, gin, or rubbing alcohol for this. Make sure the cicada is completely covered in alcohol.
-Seal the jar or container and store it in a cool, dark place. The cicada will be preserved for several years this way.

If you want to preserve multiple cicadas, you can follow the same process but put them in separate jars or containers. You can also add other things to the jar like leaves or flowers if you want to create an Natural history display

More Tips for Preserving Cicadas

Here are more tips for preserving your cicadas:

– Store them in a cool, dry place
– If you want to keep them for a long time, you can freeze them.
– You can also put them in a jar with alcohol. This will kill them and preserve their bodies.


If you would like to keep your cicada for longer, you can consider preserving it. There are a few different methods for doing this, but the most common is to mount it on a piece of wood or cardboard using pins. You can also preserve cicadas in alcohol, which will kill them and prevent them from decaying. Whatever method you choose, make sure to keep your cicada in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.


-Cicadas: Facts, Information & Control
-Cicada Killing Techniques
-How to Preserve a Cicada