Cicada 2020: 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
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.
The 2020 Cicada emergence is limited, affecting portions of North
Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. It is Brood IX, a 17 year Cicada..
2020 Cicada Watch Sightings
- We will post the 2020 sightings, as reported...by you. Follow the 2020 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
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
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:
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.
Don't Need Protection:
Black Eyed Susan
Fruit Trees in general
Rose of Sharon
Pine and Firs
Cicada and Locust Protection and 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.
Cicada Brood Emergence by year
and affected states.
- at Garden Hobbies
Cicada Pictures and Images - See what the
"buzz" is all about.