Planning for the brood: Cicadas are on their way

The insects are usually more of a nuisance when they make their grand entrance


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – They cycle every 17 years, and in the coming weeks cicadas will be making an appearance. The insects are usually more of a nuisance when they make their grand entrance, but some damage may be left in their wake.

Ian Renne, associate professor of ecology at Youngstown State University, said the adults do very little damage, but the larvae and females could be trouble.

“The larvae will be feeding on the tree roots. The adults actually do very little feeding. It’s the females laying their eggs on twigs, which will cause some damage in some cases,” Renne said.

The bugs are usually around for three to four weeks after the larvae hatch. According to Renne, it is the loud shrills the insects make that people remember most. Those sounds come from male that are “singing” to the females.

Cicadas are so prolific, Renne says, because they have a natural barrier to predators, which helps them survive in large numbers.

“It’s very difficult for predators to track a species that emerges every 13 to 17 years. They saturate the predators out there. Many do survive in the millions when there are so many emerging at the same time,” Renne said.

Renne said small fruit trees should be covered with mesh to keep the insects off of them, but other than that the insects are mostly harmless.

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