Warmer temps have come to Indiana and that means the sweet sound of the summer Cicada is back… except this year the noise will be deafening because BROOD X is here! It has been 17 years since these large bugs have seen the light of day. They have been growing up, in the dark, living on the sap from the roots of trees and now they are digging themselves out of the ground to find a mate!
Cicadas emerge when the soil temperature of 64 degrees. They are wingless when they emerge, and they will gain their wings when they shed their last shell. The males are the ones who make the noise. Males have a vibrating membrane under their abdomen that they use to attract mates. Females are quiet (thankfully!). Female cicadas have a knife-like organ that cuts into twigs and lays her eggs. The eggs are usually in twigs that are 3/16 – 7/16 inches round. The eggs, that need 6 weeks to mature, look like they are stitched into the twig. After that 6-week period, the eggs hatch and the baby nymphs drop to the ground and begin their 17-year cycle. Seventeen years later, those nymphs emerge and shed their last shell, get their wings, find a mate and the cycle starts all over again!
I am sure some of you in the south of Indiana have already started to hear Brood X and there are more to come! Females can lay between 400-600 eggs each active season and this year we are expecting over a BILLION to emerge!
Does this mean problems for you? Not really, unless you have some young trees. There are some simple things you can do to save your trees! One thing you can do is wrap them in mesh. That will prevent the momma cicada from attaching her eggs to the twigs and killing the branch. You also can use pesticides, but this requires heavy maintenance and needs to be retreated every 3-4 days. Another thing you shouldn’t do is prune your trees. This will make it harder for momma to drop her eggs into your tree!
All I can say is, enjoy the noise because it won’t be like this again for 17 years.