This year is what scientists are calling a season for the 17-year cicada. It has been 17 years since the last influx of cicadas coming above ground. This spring they are expected to arrive in greater numbers- billions possibly a trillion- than past years. This is a hot button topic for tree owners and farmers. We need to inform our readers and followers of the changes they can expect and actions that can be taken.

What is the 17-year cicada?

The 17-year cicada is an influx of cicadas that will emerge above ground for the first time in… you guessed it! Seventeen years. These cicadas have been below ground growing and feeding on roots and shoots of trees and plants. 17 years ago was the last time this enormous amount of cicadas came up out of the ground to mate. Scientists claim there could be millions of cicadas all through the north eastern part of the country. This is just how this “brood” of cicadas functions. They remain below ground for 17 years and then come up in the spring time.

Are they harmful?

Cicadas are not harmful to animals or people. Besides the noise, you’ll know there are cicadas near you when you see little burrows and hones in the ground around the base of your trees. They feed on plants, crops, and trees. They will ovipost (lay eggs) on the bark of trees. This could be harmful to young trees, or to the new growth that hasn’t hardened and lacks a thick layer of bark. We’re here to inform you how to take action.

How long will they stick around for?

The cicada mating and life span is about four to six weeks starting in spring time when temperatures warm up. The females will leave eggs in slots of tree bark. You’ll know they have arrived above ground in your area because of the screeching singing the males make to mate. It’s interesting that not only will they appear in forested or farmland areas, but in metropolitan areas too. As far as Pennsylvania goes, it wouldn’t be surprising to see 17-year cicadas even in Philadelphia.

What can I do to get rid of them?

Do to the immense number of the cicadas, there is no practical way to manage the overall surge of them above ground. But there are ways to help protect your trees and shrubs. In Pennsylvania, if you have gardens, plants, and shrubs you can call Cutting Edge Tree Professionals to wrap and/or treat your plants. The millions of expected cicadas might not be entirely preventable as they live below ground. But that doesn’t leave the situation hopeless.

Call us today at 814-201-9757 for a site visit to your property. We’ll help you come up with a personalized plan to best protect your trees and shrubs from the 17-year cicadas.



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