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Cicada 2021: Control of Periodical Cicada Insect

Cicada bugs are present in many areas of the country. In areas where a limited number of these insects are present, they pose only a minor nuisance. However, in areas where they emerge all at once by the millions, they can do serious damage to a the young trees and shrubs in your yard. In addition, their high pitched, shrill noise is very irritating. While Cicadas are fascinating to some, their presence in big numbers, is un-nerving to many people.

Other names: Cicadas are also called 17 year Locust, Cicada insects and Periodical Cicada.

Large spring hatches, called "broods", emerge in 13 year and 17 year cycles.

cicada, cicadas, pictures, images, jpg, jpeg, insect, life cycle

The 2021 Cicada emergence is  the largest off all broods, affecting portions of DE,GA,IL,IN,KY,MD.MI,NC,NJ,NY,OH,PA,TN,VA,WV. It is Brood X, a 17 year Cicada..

2021 Cicada Watch Sightings - We will post the 2021 sightings, as you. Follow the 2021 brood, as it emerges.

Is your area affected by either emergence? See the Cicada Brood Map

Cicada Pictures and Images - See what the "buzz" is all about. Contribute a Picture

When a Cicada emergence hits an area, the best protection for your trees and shrub is pest netting with a 1/4" mesh.

Most, but not all years, a Cicada brood hatches, affecting anywhere from a small area, to several states. When a particular brood matures and emerges, it is usually in many millions of insects. Fortunately, their adult life span above ground is very brief, lasting about four to six weeks.

Cicada are a flying, plant sucking insect that emerges in periodic cycles. Cicada nymphs suck juices from roots of plants. Egg laying females cause significant damage to trees, bushes and shrubs, during their brief adult stage. They are not harmful to humans. Counter to some rumors, they do not bite, nor do they often land on a human or animal.

An important distinction: Cicada are present in many areas of the country in small numbers. In the summer, many of us can hear an occasional loud, shrill Cicada somewhere in a tree. When a large cicada brood hatches, it is an entirely different event. They emerge by the thousands, or even by the millions. During their brief emergence, they are a major nuisance. More on Seasonal Cicada

Types of Cicada:

There are two basic types of Cicadas:

Periodic, 2-8 year cycle- These insects "seem" to appear every year in some areas, because their life cycle is staggered. Actually, a different brood is hatching each year to make it seem like they are annual. 

13 to 17 year cycle- This group does not appear every year. When they do emerge, it is  in huge numbers. They are sometimes called "17 Year  Locusts". Although, they are not related to locusts.

The Life Cycle of a Cicada

While the Cicada's life span may be as long as 17 years, they spend almost all of their lives underground. Cicada nymphs emerge from the ground in periodic cycles. These nymphs climb up trees and quickly shed their skins(molt). Adult flying cicada emerge from the skin. The adult Cicadas' entire purpose in life is to mate and produce offspring. You can hear the males' mating "song", from early morning to nightfall. In heavily infested areas, the noise can be quite disturbing. About five to ten days after mating, the female lands on twigs of deciduous trees, cuts slits in them, and lays her eggs in the slit.

Adults do not eat. Damage to trees is caused by the adult female, as she cuts slits into twigs and small diameter branches, to lay her eggs. Shortly after mating, the male Cicada dies.

The eggs hatch, producing tiny nymphs that fall to the ground. The nymphs burrow into the soil and feast on underground tree roots. They remain there for years, slowly growing, until their periodic cycle calls them to emerge again as adults.

How Cicadas Harm Trees and Shrubs:

Periodical Ciciada damage

It's the female that harms trees. Choosing deciduous trees, she cuts two slits in small pencil sized (or smaller) branches and twigs, and lays about 24 eggs. She then goes on to another twig and repeats the process. A female cicada can deposit up to 600 eggs.

Where infestations are heavy, the egg laying process is repeated on a tremendous number of twigs. This causes the twigs(or ends of the tree) to die, and often break off. With a heavy infestation, it often destroys young trees and bushes. While the damage may look bad on large trees, a mature tree usually survives the damage. Although damaged trees may look unsightly, for a year of two.

See Pictures of damaged trees

Affected Trees, Bushes and Shrubs:

Female cicadas seek woody stalks, 1/2 inch or less in diameter. Pines are not bothered, because of the sap. Any trees from soft gum trees to medium beech, apple, etc. to harder woods such as maples, oaks, hickory. The real key is branches that are 1/2" to 1" in diameter or less, with long open sections where they can "stitch" (lay) eggs.

Need Protection:

Don't Need Protection:

Apple Trees
Black Eyed Susan
Crab Apple
Dogwood Tree
Fruit Trees in general
Grape vines
Japanese Maple
Peach Tree
Pear Tree
Raspberry vines
Rose of Sharon

Most Flowers

Pine and Firs

Cicada  and Locust Protection and Control:

Periodical cicada pest netting, insect control

Insecticides are ineffective on these large insects.

Many animals eat Cicadas, including birds, dogs and cats. Humans eat Cicadas, too. If you are so inclined, there are recipes online! Cicadas emerge for a very brief period of time in huge numbers. The feast is short lived. Natural predators don't make a big dent in their populations.

Insect Netting is the most effective way to provide protection for young trees and shrubs, which are most susceptible. Because Cicada are large insects, a 1/4" mesh netting is effective. Wrap pest netting completely around the tree and tie or seal it off, to keep any insects from finding an entryway.

Important Note: Even if the Cicadas have emerged in your area, you have 5-10 days to cover young trees before the female begins to cause damage, as she lays her eggs.

Related Topics:

Cicada Brood Emergence by year and affected states.

Cicadas - at Garden Hobbies

Cicada Pictures and Images - See what the "buzz" is all about.



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