Periodical cicadas are unbelievable insects that typically emerge by the millions after either 13 or 17 years underground. There are 6 species of cicada, three of which emerge after 13 years and three which emerge after 17 years. Separately, these species are called broods and all of the broods present in Pennsylvania require 17 years to mature. While underground, cicadas feed on the juices from plant roots. During this time they cause very little damage, but after 17 years they tunnel their way to the surface to begin their life cycle all over again. Adult cicadas are 1 ½ inches long and have eyes and wing veins that are reddish orange. Soon after they appear from the ground, male cicadas begin to sing. This song is a mating call to the females, who after approximately 10 days of emergence, will mate and begin laying eggs in tiny slits she cuts into twigs and branches of trees.
If cicadas are taking over your Pennsylvania backyard and you are hearing the eerie sound of the male cicada’s mating song, it is because 17 years ago female cicadas used trees or shrubs on or near your property to lay her eggs. When cicada eggs hatch, the juvenile tends to bury into the ground near the tree from where they hatched and 17 years later emerge as adults.
Although cicadas are not poisonous and they do not bite or sting, they can cause extensive damage to trees and shrubs, especially immature oak, hickory, apple and dogwood trees, along with blueberry and azalea bushes on your property. Female cicadas cut up to 20 slits per twig in order to lay her eggs. These slits can severely weaken the branch and cause it to break easily, especially in windy weather.
Unfortunately, Moyer Indoor | Outdoor does not provide treatment for cicadas and there isn’t a lot you can do about cicadas infesting your backyard. If you are worried about damage to your trees and shrubs, especially young ones, you can cover them with cloth netting to prevent the females from gaining access to the branches. And you can rest assured these remarkable insects won’t be around long. The adult cicadas only live about 5 weeks and just about the time the adults die, their eggs will hatch and the nymphs then fall to the ground and burrow into the soil to start the 17 year incubation period all over again.
Moyer provides pest control services in Souderton, Allentown, Easton, and throughout Northampton, Lehigh, Bucks and Montgomery Counties as well as parts of Chester, Delaware and Philadelphia Counties. Contact us today to learn more about the services available in your area.