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Cicadas 2021 Are Coming – But Don’t Panic

Cicadas 2021. Sounds like a political campaign or something. In reality, cicadas 2021 are members of Brood X, one of the many broods of what are known as periodical cicadas. Billions of Brood X cicadas will emerge all over Maryland, southern Pennsylvania, and northern Virginia in May and June.

The states of Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina will also have an emergence this year. You may hear or see them in your own yard if you have a number of trees. The best places to see and hear them are county and state parks with acres of undisturbed stands of trees.

These aren’t the bugs you hear and maybe see every summer. Those are annual cicadas. The periodical cicada is a large, red-eyed, sluggish bug with large wings. They are actually here all the time. We just don’t see them, because the brood is hiding underground.

17 Year Cicada Life Cycle

According to the University of Maryland Department of Entomology, the life cycle above ground of these fascinating insects can take up to 13 weeks. Once the soil temperature reaches about 64°F, cicadas emerge from the ground as nymphs, shelled in a clawed carapace, or shell. They then climb on the first thing they can find (usually a tree) and molt into a soft-bodied, white, winged adult.

It then takes about 4-6 days for their exoskeleton to harden. The adult cicadas then fly to the treetops to mate. The adult stage lasts 2-4 weeks. It’s during this time that things get really loud. The male cicadas call to attract females using a vibrating membrane called a tymbal. These cicada calls can reach nearly 100 decibels. That’s as loud as a motorcycle but not as loud as a subway train.

Once the male and female cicada do what nature intended, the female will lay eggs in young twigs (this can cause damage to young trees or shrubs). Approximately 10 weeks later, the eggs will hatch, and nymphs will fall from the tree to the ground. The nymphs will then bury themselves 18” deep into the soil and will feed on the tree’s root fluid for 17 years. Then the cycle starts all over again.

Don’t Listen in for Too Long

Keep in mind that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says prolonged exposure to noise above 70 decibels can cause hearing loss. Now, a quick trip to the mailbox or doing some gardening won’t be a problem, but if you have cicadas on your property, you may want to wear earplugs or headphones if you need to be outside for more than an hour.

Cicadas May Be Noisy, But They Won’t Hurt You or Your Pets

Cicadas don’t bite, and they are actually edible. If your dog or cat eats a few, it won’t hurt anything. Just don’t let Rover gorge himself. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you could eat a cicada or two, or make a meal of them as well. Just Google cicada recipes, and you’ll be amazed at what you find.

Examples include:

  • Cicada Scampi
  • Stir Fry Cicadas
  • Cicada Cocktails

Not feeling that adventurous? No problem. Neither are we.

Cleaning Up Cicada Shells

Depending on where you live, and how many trees you have on your property, you may need to clean up cicada shells. If you have a pool, you may need to use the pool strainer more often, and clear out the skimmer more often.

If you have piles of shells under trees, you can rake them up, or even mow over them. The shells may be unsightly, but will not hurt your landscaping. And remember, once the cicadas are gone, they won’t be back for another 17 years.

Get a Better Outdoor Experience with Lazo Landscaping

At Lazo, we work through cicada season with no worries. If you find that cicadas damaged your young trees, contact our tree service for help. If you want to improve your outdoor experience with a new custom patio, outdoor kitchen or another hardscaping feature, we can turn your dreams into reality.

Check out our Gallery page for examples of our work in the Baltimore area. If you like what you see, just call 866-909-4894 or click the button and fill out the form to schedule a free estimate.

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