Seasonal Cicada Insects

Seasonal Cicada Insects

Seasonal Cicada Insects are a Noisy Backyard Pest

Cicada bugs are present in many areas of North America. In the USA and Canada, seasonal cicada insects are present from mid-summer to early fall. They arrive in small numbers, usually from just a couple, to a few dozen, or so. The male cicadaes high-pitched, shrill mating call disturbs the peace and solitude of backyards and parks. Usually, they are heard during the afternoon and early evening hours. It only takes a few active cicadae, to make a whole lot of noise, and disturb the quiet solitude of your backyard.

While their noise is quite a nuisance, there is little you can do to rid your backyard of this insect pest. Chemical insecticides and organic insect repellents do not work on these big bugs. No traps exist, to capture them. This leaves you with little to do, but to await their return to the ground around your trees and shrubs where they feed on the roots.

In some areas, there is a massive cicada emergence in the spring, where thousands and millions of Cicada bugs emerge all at once, making an un-nerving, ear-shattering noise. This huge emergence can do great damage to trees, bushes, and shrubs. Whereas seasonal cicada insects are too small in number to cause noticeable damage. These emergences occur in the U.S., east of the Mississippi River. See: Major Cicada Brood Emergences

Other names: Cicadas are sometimes called Locusts. In actuality, a locust is a similar, yet distinctly unrelated insect.

What is a Seasonal Cicada?

There are over 3,000 species of Cicadas. Of those, 2,993 species are seasonal cicadas. And, just seven species are periodic cicadas, mostly found in Eastern areas of the United States. To better understand what these 2,993 species of seasonal cicadas are, let’s first understand what they are not.

Seasonal cicadas are not the 7 species of periodic cicadas. Rather, periodic cicadas are insects that emerge by the billions in broods that have 13 and 17 year cycles. 

Also, seasonal cicadae (the plural form of their name) are not Locusts as some people call them. As a matter of fact, they are not even related to locusts. Cicadas are related to aphids. While locusts are related to grasshoppers. 

The 2,993 species of seasonal cicadas are found all over the world. You may find one or two, or even a dozen in your backyard on a warm summer’s evening. This small number is a key distinction between the massive number of periodic cicadas emerging all at the same time, and seasonal cicadas. The very loud, shrill noise is the mating call of the male of the species. Their noise level can reach 100 decibels.

The Life Cycle of Seasonal Cicada Insects

In the summer, you may see the adult Cicada insect flying around in the afternoon or early evening hours. Cicadas sit in trees singing with a high-pitched, shrill sound. Young cicada nymphs are unseen, living underground. They feed on the juices from the roots of plants.

Seasonal cicada insects stay above ground for several weeks in mid-summer to late fall. They irritate everyone who comes within hearing range. That shrill noise you hear is their mating call. The females lay their eggs in finger-sized twigs and branches of trees and shrubs. Fortunately, seasonal cicadas are too few to cause significant damage in most circumstances. The eggs hatch and the nymphs fall to the ground. Nymphs burrow into the ground and remain there for most of their lives. 

Controlling Seasonal Cicada Insects

Insecticides are ineffective on these large insects.

Because seasonal cicadas arrive in relatively small numbers, they usually do little long-term damage to trees and shrubs.

However, if you desire peace of mind, insect netting is the most effective way to protect susceptible young trees and shrubs. Because Cicadas are large insects, 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.

Related Articles

Learn about Cicadas – How to control cicadas and more.

Seasonal Cicadas – emerge in small numbers in many parts of the country. They are mainly a noisy nuisance causing little or no damage.

Brood Emergence by year and affected states.

Pictures and Images – See what the “buzz” is all about.

Damage Pictures – see what it does to trees.

Cicadae – at Garden Hobbies

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