Cicadas need trees! Cicadas are not invasive insects. They have evolved with our local trees. Cicadas will not cause a mature tree longterm damage. Younger trees are targets for egg laying and will suffer some damage, but they should recover quickly in the next few years if the trees are otherwise healthy.<br> Female cicadas have a saw-like structure on their ovipositor (egg-laying body part) that will cut a groove in a tree limb. The groove provides shelter and exposes the tree fluids, which the young cicadas feed on. These grooves can kill small branches. When the branches die and leaves turn brown, it’s called flagging. A few weeks later the young cicada will drop to the ground where they burrow down to feed on the roots for 17 years.
Though some websites may recommend to cover young trees with netting, this can actually cause more harm than good. When it’s time to remove the netting, you may break off more new growth than the cicadas damage. In addition, birds or other tree-dwelling animals may get caught in the netting.
Pretty much any tree or shrub nearby will be covered with cicadas. They do not prefer conifers (trees with needles like pine, spruce, and hemlock). All other trees nearby will be used to lay eggs.
Cicadas make that noise in order to attract mates. The website Cicada Mania has a great explainer about the tymbal, the organ male cicadas use to “sing.”
No. Adult cicadas do not have a mouth or a stinger, and therefore will not cause any harm to people. While they may look intimidating and sound scary, they are harmless and can be picked up without worry. Remember, we won’t see these insects for 17 more years. Encourage your children to explore them!
Cicadas are gluten-free, high in protein, low in fat, and low in carbohydrates. The perfect summer snack! 😉 Every 17 years, the wildlife of our area receive a feast they cannot comprehend. Turtles, squirrels, mice, possums, foxes, raccoons, chipmunks, birds and more feast on these insects for the few weeks they are here. Cicadas also make great fish bait.
Pets: The truth is in most cases, your pets will be fine if they eat a few cicadas. However, you still need to be cautious and keep a close eye on your pets. Watch them for odd behavior, and don’t let them gorge themselves. The site Cicada Mania warns that pet owners should be wary: “Pets can choke on the rigid wings and other hard body parts of the cicadas; pets will gorge themselves on cicadas, and possibly become ill and vomit; pets who consume cicadas sprayed with copious amounts of pesticide can and will die.”
People: Remember, crawfish, lobster, crab, and shrimp are part of the same biological phylum — arthropods — as insects. So, if you’ve got a cicada “problem” in your yard and you are interested in trying them yourself, check out this free online cookbook. Disclaimer: check with your doctor first. If you have an allergy to soy, nuts, or shellfish, cicadas may not be for you. Seventeen-year cicadas are well-known bioaccumulators of mercury. If consuming mercury is a concern, you should not eat cicadas.
Cicadas provide food and nutrients! Every 17 years our forests are treated to a great amount of nutrients in the form of dead cicada bodies. Thousands of animals feast upon the insects as well; something they will never again see in their lifetime (remember, these 17-year insects will outlive our common wildlife).