What is a Cicada?

Cicadas are a large flying insect that infest areas during the summer. The type we are dealing with this month is the periodical cicada. They spend most of their lives as underground nymphs, emerging only after 13 or 17 years. The adult cicada lives for about 4-6 weeks after emergence, depending on the weather. They are known for their distinct mating call, which can exceed 100 decibels. That’s about as loud as a car stereo playing at max volume.

This particular brood, (Brood X) is a large one. When they last popped up in 2004, they were found in mass amounts in our area; Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. If your neighborhood saw a large emergence in 2004, then you will likely be in for a treat this year.

What can you do to control them?

Cicadas mostly pose a threat to young trees and fruit trees. They don’t chew on leaves like other pests. The female cicada will cut grooves in the bark to lay their eggs. Mature trees should be fine, but this can be an issue with the young trees. You will want to spray the cicadas off with a hose as often as you can, or protect them with netting or tape. Some more delicate plants require picking them off by hand. If you start to notice significant damage on a particular branch, trimming the affected areas can help mitigate the damage to the rest of the tree.

Is there any product that can kill them?

There are products on the market that will kill cicadas, but we don’t recommend them. These products often affect other helpful pests and you are also still left with a yard full of dead cicadas to clean up.