Cicadas are red-eyed, buzzing drones of insects that, depending on the species, emerge from underground once every 2-17 years, so many people naturally have a multitude of questions and get a little squeamish where cicadas are involved. Since cicadas only surface in large swarms in order to grow into adult cicadas and breed, one of those questions often seems to be, “Do cicadas lay eggs in your skin?” The short answer is no, they cannot, but hopefully this article will be a more in-depth informational guide into further debunking that fear.

Cicadas begin their lives as eggs that are laid in small holes that females make in tree or shrub branches. Females lay anywhere from 200-400 of these eggs at a time, and within 10 weeks, baby cicadas, (otherwise known as nymphs), hatch from the eggs and fall to the ground. The nymph cicadas burrow their way underneath the ground and attach themselves onto the roots of the trees or shrubs, where they suck nutrients from sap and until they grow and resurface as adults. That dormant period ends when the cicada reemerges and latches onto the trunk of a tree so it can molt and shed its skin.

That’s when the buzzing begins. In the summertime, it is common to hear loud humming; this is the adult male cicadas’ mating song. A female cicada that is impressed by this song will make clicking noises with her wings. The pair will mate, the female will lay her eggs, and after about 5 weeks above ground, both the male and female cicadas will die, ending their life cycle.

Because of this strict life cycle, and the fact that females have to spend so much time creating small holes in trees in order to lay her eggs, cicadas do not have the time or interest in laying eggs in or near humans. Cicadas do not often come into contact with humans, unless humans go seeking them out. Even a bite or scratch from a cicada is extremely rare, and would not happen unless of an accidental situation or extremely provoked.