The Brood X cicadas come out every 17 years and guess what? This is the year for them to return (2021). These cicadas have a 17-year life cycle and spend most of their lives a “nymphs” living underground. They are expected to emerge in our area in mid-May and will be with us for about a month.
Tree damage is seen as a result of the emergence of the Brood X cicadas. The adult cicada does not cause significant feeding damage. They don’t feed on leaves. If they do feed they suck plant fluid from tender young twigs. The damage seen from the cicadas is caused as a result of the egg-laying habits of the female cicadas. The female cicadas cut small slits into the twigs and branches of trees into which they deposit their eggs. Branches with many slits created by the egg-laying will often break causing that section of the branch to turn brown and die. Some young or newly planted trees may be killed or their growth stunted. These trees and plants can be netted to protect them from the onslaught of the cicadas. Trees commonly susceptible to damage include oaks, maples, cherry, and other fruit trees, hawthorn, and redbuds. Evergreens are rarely affected by the cicadas laying eggs.
Established trees should be fine, and insecticides are ineffective for significantly reducing damage. If you are planning on planting trees or shrubs you may consider delaying until fall when the cicadas will be gone.
More detailed information regarding the Brood X cicadas can be found below.