If you’ve been watching the news lately, you may have noticed several stories about the cicada invasion that’s on the horizon. So, are they coming to your town and should you be worried? Keep reading to find out!
Cicadas are bugs that invade areas of the United States at specific times, showing up about every 13 years in southern states and every 17 years in the north. Their life-span lasts around five to six weeks. For Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, get ready because Spring of 2013 is your year.
Do Cicadas Always Show Up 17 Years Apart?
Not all cicadas count the years correctly. Some end up emerging ahead of the 17-year schedule. In addition, there also are some species of cicadas who emerge every 13 years.
When their time arrives, cicadas emerge from their underground slumber and dig their way out. Normally this happens at night. The cicadas climb up a tree trunk and anchor themselves using their claws. Once in place on the tree trunk, the skin on their back splits open and wings emerge. 17-year cicadas like to hang out in low vegetation and other low-lying surfaces. They are usually seen in swarms that number in the thousands.
Are Seniors in Danger?
While cicada swarms may look scary, sound noisy and generally become aggravating, seniors are in no danger from the bugs. Luckily, cicadas are considered benign insects. They don’t sting or bite, nor do they carry any diseases that are dangerous to humans. The male cicadas are the only ones that make noise. They have membranes on their abdomen that vibrate very quickly when pulled by tiny muscles, creating the loud noise. Females are able to make a clicking noise with their wings, but it’s nothing compared to the sounds males make. So, seniors can rest easy during the cicada invasion…if they can stand the noise.
Do Cicadas Harm Your Trees?
Many seniors take great pride in their spring garden and planting, so should you worry about your trees while the cicadas are here? Well, female cicadas actually can harm young trees when they lay their eggs within the new growth. Try the following tips to prevent damage to your new trees:
- Spray trees off with a garden hose each morning and evening
- Apply aluminum foil around the tree’s trunk
- Use insect barrier tape around the trunk
- Place a netting over precious ornamental trees