Cicadas! !!!

mehitabel(z6 MO)June 3, 2011

What a din! They're out there in the woods behind my house. I hope the birds eat their fill.

I've seen a few on my deck-- on the internet it says that females cut slits in twigs of trees or bushes to lay eggs in, damaging trees and shrubs, and the grubs eat roots.

Will they do damage to my jasmines and gardenias, ya think?

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But sure like the lingo of your post!!!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 8:17PM
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Mehitabel, we had cicadas infestation 5 years ago and I did not see them working on my potted jasmines and other plants. They basicall stick to big trees and mind their business. Except for their annoying noise and flying into our paths once in a while they did not harm much to my potted garden. To be on safeside I just got a insect screen and laid it on my pots for few weeks on cicada's visit to northern virginia back then. They were there for 4 weeks and then gone for hibernation for next 18years.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 6:46AM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Hi, kandhi.I thought everyone would be having them!

Thanks for your report on how they act. Yes, they are buzzing me out on the deck and on the driveway. I've even seen a few dead ones around. I think I'll do a pour-thru of pesticide this fall just in case.

We always seemed to have a few in August, but the present scene is something else. Must be millions. Thank heavens they don't eat leaves. Otherwise everything would be bare down to the bark.

Isn't anyone else getting them?

Radha-- glad to please :P

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 12:11PM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

This morning there's a lot less noise than the last three days or so, but the pesky things have been on my Osmanthus every time I went out there. They also fly stupid and keep bumping into me.

Have to remember not to breathe thru my mouth :D

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 1:33PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I love that noise. It says summer to me.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 12:01PM
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They got here at the end of April and are beginning to disapear now. The noise has almost gone. Our ag. agent says they normally don't cause damage because they spread themselves around. Since you have a forest, as I do, I think you are safe. I didn't see any problems here.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 10:02PM
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I don't understand the use of pesticides for some cicadas? Depending on the type they won't be back for years and years anyways but since they really aren't causing significant damage and you could kill many beneficial insects in the process I don't think it's propably worth it.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 1:30PM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Leah, the grubs live for years by eating the roots of plants. If any have laid their eggs in my potted gardenias and jasmines, I don't want them eating up the roots.

Pesticide? I said soapy water, and I meant dishwashing detergent solution. Kills bugs, believe it or not. I assume it would also kill grubs, tho maybe not.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 3:54PM
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Sorry, you said pesticide I thought that's what you meant, but my point is that they don't appear to be all that harmful to shrubs anyways, if your potted plants are still alive at the time of emergence then they haven't done that much damage. :)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 5:03PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Those of us who don't live in an area where the 17 year periodical cicadas occur in huge brood outbreaks can't appreciate the situation. This isn't (at all) what most of experience year in and year out.

These recorded and mapped broods occur in certain parts of the country, in the NE, MW, and some in the upper South. You'll not see nor hear them in the PNW, W, SW, or deeper S. There is another large outbreak of 13 year cicadas expected, too. Mehitabel is right in the middle of all of it.

Brood outbreaks are well documented and everyone knows well in advance of the expected outbreak. The damage caused by these (millions and millions) insects cannot be ignored. Consider the effect of hundreds of female cicadas slitting into the wood of one plant in order to deposit eggs. Each female will lay several batches of eggs in her short life, creating slits in the wood of several plants. She'll lay several hundred eggs before she dies.

17 year (and other periodical) cicadas show up every year, by the way. Those just aren't part of these extraordinary, historical broods.

Those who live in the worst of the areas have had to deal with drifts of shed skins in their yard and will soon have millions of dead cicadas. Some of the pictures that I have seen are truly unbelievable.

The nymphs will fall to the ground upon hatching and develop underground where they feed on nothing but the sap from woody plants. Cicadas are members of the same insect order (Homoptera) as aphids, scale, mealybugs, leaf hoppers, and that rotten group. Like their kin, the nymphs have piercing/sucking mouthparts so don't chew the roots, but pierce the tissue to suck the juices.

Soapy water won't kill them. Pesticides should not be recommended to the typical homeowner. Prized shrubs and small trees can be protected with cheese cloth or other similar material until the threat is over. At last, a use for tulle! If inspect your plants carefully, you can see where the cicadas have laid their eggs. Prune those twigs and branches out NOW before the eggs hatch. Those twigs will likely die beyond that point, anyway.

Those that will take special precautions would be garden centers and nurseries, tree farms (including Xmas trees), orchards, vineyards, arboretums, botanical gardens, and important plant collections. The potential damage to those businesses is great.

I've attached a Google image page with some good pictures of the actual egg slits, of minor and major cicada damage and of some of the methods of protecting your young trees and shrubs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Interesting, I think

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 1:10PM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Leah, sorry, you are right. I did say pesticide. I must have been feeling pretty intense about them when I posted that :)

Rhizo-- thanks for the information about cicadas. Very interesting. Sucking mouthparts like aphids and scale! Except huge-- the size of two segments of pinky fingers. They cling very tight, too. Need to jet them a long time to get them off something.

I couldn't figure out why everyone didn't have them. The noise here in some places exceeded 85 decibels. In some areas with old trees there are so many they are clinging to the outside of houses. As you said, nothing like the normal buzz of cicadas on warm summer nights.

I'm grateful they aren't leaf eaters, but the damage shown in your link is astonishing. I will look everything over carefully for damage and prune if needed.

Thanks so much for your reply.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 11:37AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Actually I have seen and heard two here in the PNW, I was so surprised. DH had no idea what the buzzing noise was but I knew right away having grown up in AZ where they are common. Since there was only one buzzing at the time, I was able to find him and point him out to DH but didn't take a picture. There was another one buzzing the following year but not the year after.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 11:41AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You've heard cicadas, but not the 17 year species. You didn't have that species in Arizona, either. The 17 year broods emerge by the billions. Not so pleasant in those numbers.

I'm wondering why I've not been hearing cicadas in our neighborhood! It's been very quiet of an evening.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 4:24PM
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Rhizo: That's because the TORNADOS in your area have strip them all from where they were and blew them into some other part of the

You are amazing when it comes to helping us with insects, both good and bad, and I really appreciate it:-)


    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 6:01PM
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kemistry(8 - Oregon)

Those 17 year species sound terrifying.. but I do love the gentle cicidas noise on a summer evening during my years in Asia.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 10:07PM
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