If you pay attention to the local media, we are about to witness an insect invasion of biblical proportions. It may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it is going to be something to witness.
Ever year, Cicadas emerge from the ground, hatch, reproduce, and die. Once the young Cicada hatches, it will feed on tree fluids until it reaches a certain maturity it will fall to the ground and dig in until it finds roots to feed on. It will stay in the ground for 2-17 years, depending on which specie it is. The specie emerging this year is called Brood IX and it has been underground for 17 years. It is a large brood and there will be a lot of Cicadas.
The Cicadas will begin to emerge in mid-April, give or take a week depending on soil temperatures. While they are above the soil, the will be loud, jet engine loud. They will be gone by late June.
Cicada Damage To Plants
Cicadas do cause damage to plants, mostly young trees. The damage is a groove the female makes with her ovipositer. She then deposits her eggs in the groove, which provides shelter and a source of tree fluids to the young hatchlings. The groove can kill small branches. The branch will turn brown. When this happens, the damage is called flagging. Although Cicadas do cause some damage, in the grander scheme of things, it really isn’t that much. Small trees that are already stressed could die, but overall, most plants will survive and grow back out over time. Cicadas do not eat the leaves of plants.
Protecting Plants From Cicadas
It is almost impossible to protect every tree on a property by covering them in netting. It is just not realistic. However, given that there may be some damage to shrubs, it may be worth draping netting over these if you are really concerned. Netting is available at most garden centers and hardware stores.
Dogs And Cicadas
Your dog is probably going to enjoy the Cicada buffet, for a little while. Eating Cicadas poses no threat to your dog if it eats them. In fact, Cicadas are a god source of protein. It will not take long though for your dog to tire of them and will probably stop eating them altogether.
Can Humans Eat Cicadas?
Yes! I can personally attest that they are not half bad having sampled a few in 2003, the last time this brood appeared (hint: do not eat the wings, they can get stuck in your throat). For those that would rather cook their Cicadas rather than eating them raw, here is a link to Cicada Recipes. Enjoy!
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