Listen Live

After a year of a global pandemic, it’s easy to panic when hearing about the swarms of cicadas headed our way. However, this whole article is to reassure you that you and your plants will be just fine!

Brood X happens in 13 states every 17 years. This is a time period in which Pharaoh cicadas emerge from the ground. The creepy red-eyed bug sleeps about 2 feet under the ground feeding on xylem fluid of trees. The reason they come up at all is to socialize, shed their skin, and find a mate.

Now on to the main reason of this article: your plants will be okay.

The biggest misconception is that these cicadas are they same as locusts, but that’s just not the case. In fact, these guys don’t even have teeth!

Even if a mature tree or plant is covered in cicadas, they will be just fine. They may have a few damaged branches, but nothing the plant can’t handle.

What about your veggie and herbs? They’ve been underground eating for the last 17 years; they are more interested in dating then dinner at this point. If you do see them around your plants you can use a hose or pick them off.

Professionals advise against spraying any pesticides on your garden as the sprays aren’t powerful enough and would cause more damage to the good bugs instead.

If you do have young shrubs and trees a little bit of protection won’t hurt. We recommend placing a mosquito net, light curtains, a polyester row cover, etc. to protect the little ones through the month of May and June. That coverage alone will be enough.

Orchard trees seem to be the target tree when it comes to females laying eggs. Often times females will cut a slit into branches and deposit their eggs. The slit, just like a cut on the finger, could lead to extra moisture or an entry point for disease. Master Gardeners say protecting your fruit trees with netting is a good idea, however, most of the time fruit trees recover just fine.

Ending on a high note, cicadas are actually great for naturally pruning our trees, aerating the soil, and feeding wildlife. Plus, despite myths these guys don’t bite or sting (they’re just loud-mouths!)