Posted by thegardensnet.com on 03/25/2011 at 10:19 AM
Cicada bugs, also called the "17 year locust", Cicada insects or bugs, arrive by the millions, and can do damage to a variety of young trees and shrubs in your yard. The 2011 Cicada infestation affects a sizable area of the U.S. For the next several years, there will be an annual emergence somewhere in the country. The 2011 Cicada emergence is from Brood XIX.. It affects the following states: AL, AR, GA, IN, IL, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA Also see the Cicada Brood map - link at the bottom of this page When a Cicada emergence hits an area, the best protection is pest netting with a 1/4" mesh. Buy Pest Netting Most, but not all years, a Cicada brood hatches, affecting anywhere from a small area to several states or more. 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 is 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 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. 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 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. They climb up trees and quickly shed their skins(molt). An adult, flying cicada emerges. 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. Rather, damage to trees is caused by the adult female as she cuts slices into twigs to lay her eggs. Shortly after mating, the male Cicada dies. The eggs hatch, producing tiny nymphs that fall to the ground. These nymphs burrow into the soil and feast on underground 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 can usually survive the damage. Affected Trees, Bushes and Shrubs: Cicada love any woody stalk 1/2 inch or less in diameter. Pines are not so much 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" in diameter or less, with long open sections that they can "stitch" to lay eggs (that is why pines are not targets).