We Haven’t Seen Cicadas like This in Over 200 Years. Get ready…Cicada Brood XIX and Brood XIII will both emerge this spring. The last time these insects showed up at the same time in the United States, was in 1803 when Thomas Jefferson was president. After this spring, it’ll be another 221 years before the broods, which are geographically adjacent, appear together again.

Quoted in the NY times, “Nobody alive today will see it happen again,” said Floyd W. Shockley, an entomologist and collections manager at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. “That’s really rather humbling.”

Fun facts and everything you need to know from our on-staff entomologist about this once-in-a-lifetime summer of cicadas:

1. Don’t Kill Them, And Don’t Be Afraid

Cicadas aren’t easy to control, and as pest professionals, we wouldn’t recommend killing cicadas. 

But not to worry, they aren’t harmful to humans, and actually they’re very helpful for the ecosystem at large, so it’s best that we leave them at peace to continue their ancient breeding process.

Another reason to not be afraid is they have no way of biting you. They don’t even have mouths like traditional creatures. Cicadas have modified mouthparts to feed on liquids rather than solid material. Cicada larvae suck juices from plant roots, while adults suck fluids like tree sap from woody shrubs and trees.

This can lead to weakened branches or foliage. Smaller trees are more vulnerable but can be easily protected with netting.

2. Why Do Cicadas Make Such A Deafening Noise?

To many, the loud humming of cicadas can feel endearing and nostalgic. It often causes sensory memories, bringing us back to the feeling of summer. That deafening noise is made by the males only, to court and attract female cicadas for mating.

When cicadas emerge from under the ground, they live only four to six weeks—just long enough to mate, fertilize, or lay eggs, and start the cycle all over again. So, the deafening noises you hear are a Hail Mary last chance opportunity to mate and continue the cycle. 

3. Can Cicadas Cause Damage To My Trees, Lawn Or Property?

First, The Good News: cicadas can’t eat crops like locusts. They only drink fluid from trees. If you’re worried about smaller, more vulnerable trees, add some netting as you start to hear the cicada humming in late spring to early summer.

The bad news: Cicada larvae (grubs) can cause tremendous damage to a lawn. Grubs eat the roots of the grass, killing it off. Entire lawns can be wiped out in this process.

Need a free assessment on your lawn? Click here to schedule a free lawn care estimate with our team.

4. Will Cicadas Cause An Uptick Or Decline In Other Pests Around My House That I Should Worry About?

Oakmites feed on the exoskeleton, so they could be a big problem this year. Oakmites float through the air and can cause skin irritation, but they don’t live on a human host nor live indoors, so that’s good news. Oakmites cannot be treated by pest control professionals as they’re microscopic, they gloat through the air. We recommend benadryl for skin irritation.

We may see an increase in the spider population this summer as spiders prey on cicadas. We recommend regularly knocking down spider webs as they build outside. If you’re continuing to see spiders in and around your home, we’d recommend signing up for our quarterly pest-preventative service.

5. Good Things That Cicadas Bring

They’re a valuable food source for birds, bats, and other predators and help our ecosystem.

6. What Is The Life Cycle Of A Cicada?

Periodical cicadas are insects that spend most of their lives feeding off the sap of tree roots underground as nymphs. 

Shortly after a nymph hatches from its egg, it burrows into the ground, where it spends the majority of its life. When it emerges from the ground many years (or decades) later as an adult cicada, it lives only four to six more weeks—just long enough to mate, fertilize or lay eggs, and start the cycle all over again.

Since We Haven’t Seen Cicadas like This in Over 200 Years we will be in for a treat.

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