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The Cicadas Are Back In 2021!

Posted 2021-05-12

After 17 years of feeding on tree roots, Brood X, the largest brood of the 17-year periodical cicada have emerged.   Here are some good facts to know:

  • Life cycle: Adults have black bodies with red wing margins and red eyes. In May, the nymphs crawl out of the ground and molt into adults. They will be around for about 45 days.
  • Population: Up to 1.5 million cicadas can emerge. (That’s 34 per square foot!)
  • Location: Generally, only areas that had trees on it 17 years ago and still have trees there today will experience the cicada population.
  • Expectations: Their daytime calls can be deafening, but they are quiet at night. As masses of cicadas die, the smell can be quite unpleasant.
  • Damage: Short termTrees in the landscape may experience some damage. Young trees may suffer, while large trees should be just fine. If you have a couple small trees, you can use 1/2″ mesh netting to protect them. Long term: Mature trees will produce new branches. Cicadas have been referred to as ‘Nature’s pruners”.
  • Treatment options: Application of insecticides is not recommended, as they are not eating the leaves and, if present, their numbers are simply overwhelming. Hosing young trees down with water daily can be a deterrent. Netting of smaller trees, as noted above, is the best action.