The Cicadas Are Coming… Get Ready!
If you were in this area in the early 2000s (or mid 80s) you might remember one spring where there were cicadas everywhere. These periodical cicadas, who are part of a group known as Brood X, only come out once every 17 years. You might have guessed it… they’re due for a visit this year.
These particular cicadas have a 17 year life cycle and spend most of it living as nymphs underground. Experts believe that they’ve evolved to emerge all at once because their overwhelming group presence prevents them from being eaten by predators. They would be considered easy targets otherwise due to their loud noises and larger size.
We can expect these cicadas to emerge in mid-May and stick around until the end of June– they tend to come out once the ground warms up to around 65 degrees Fahrenheit and the air is around 80 degrees.
Maryland also has cicadas that come around annually, often called “dog day cicadas.” These annual cicadas look very different from the 17 year cicadas that we’re expecting this year. The 17 year cicadas are orange and black, whereas the annual cicadas are dark green.
Our area isn’t the only one getting a visit– these cicadas are known to live in 15 states in the Eastern US spanning from Georgia to Michigan and out West a little to Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
Fun fact: cicadas are not poisonous to humans– they are actually edible and are considered a good source of protein by some. Experts say that they are not poisonous to dogs either, although eating too many of them might upset their stomach.
For the most part, cicadas do not cause much damage to plants. They do not eat leaves– instead they drink sap from branches and roots, which does not harm most plants. If you wish to protect your younger trees and plants, it is recommended that you put foil around the trunk of the tree (to keep them from crawling up), using insect barrier tape, or using insect barrier netting over your tree.
Brood X information courtesy of https://www.cicadamania.com/ and University of Maryland’s Home and Garden Information Center.
Featured photo courtesy of Kelly Holland @keeneyedkelly
By: Michelle Katz @pike.and.rozay