Cicadas referred to as locusts, come up from the earth by the hundreds every 14 or 18 years. A cicada covers shrubs, trees, and other foliage, and then cast into an adult. Adult males gather together in loud groups and fly together, looking for females. Homeowners might wonder are cicadas harmful to their gardens or yards.
Cicada nymphs feed beneath the earth on tree roots but won’t create significant damage to your trees—the cicada nymphs aid in aerating the soil, carrying nitrogen and nutrients to the surface.
Are Cicadas Harmful? The Facts
Once the cicadas appear, they spend a couple of days on shrubs and trees, letting their new adult bones darken and strengthen. In the meantime, they won’t harm your trees or feed.
Adult cicadas live only to mate. Eggs left by mated females don’t harm trees. The female nymph plows a hole in limbs and little twigs. She put her eggs in the opening, effectually cracking the branch open. The ends of affected limbs will shrivel and brown. A symptom is known as flagging.
On healthy, older trees, any cicada activity shouldn’t bother you. More aged, big trees can endure the loss of limb ends and recoup from the attack of cicadas.
Young trees, especially fruit trees, do necessitate some protection. Since many of its limbs are still tiny enough to entice female cicadas determined on laying eggs, a young tree might lose all or some of its limbs. In really young trees with trunks less than one inch, a mated female could unearth the trunk.
Keeping Your Landscape Safe from Cicadas
If there is an anticipation of cicadas appearing in your area, place a net over all young trees. Be sure the netting has holes less than one-half inch wide. Anything more significant and the cicadas will go through it. Cover the whole tree canopy with the net, securing it to the trunk. No cicadas can creep beneath the opening. Your net should be in place before the cicadas emerge. Take the netting off when all the cicadas have left.
If you want to plant a fresh tree during a year when cicadas are due to surface in your area, wait until autumn. The tree will have approximately 16 years to develop and establish roots before the next cicadas group comes.
The larvae fall to the ground and go down to the roots where they eat until it’s time to pupate. Root feeding deprives the tree of nutrients that could help it grow. There is no documentation by any tree professionals regarding damage to a tree from this feeding type.
Tree damage from cicadas happens in the egg-laying activity. The female lays her eggs beneaths the branch bark. The twig cracks and dies, and the leaves on the limb turns brown. This ailment is known as flagging. You can see flagging limbs and twigs due to the contrast of healthy green leaves next to brown leaves on other limbs.
Call us at Durham Tree Service to help you control your cicada problem.