SOME FUN CICADA FACTS
The periodical cicadas like this year's brood may emerge in HUGE numbers – as many as 1 million per acre!
- Several broods will emerge in Maryland this year. The largest is called Brood X (That's Roman numeral for 10.)
- These cicadas have been 2-3 feet underground for 17 years, waiting for this spring to crawl to the surface.
- This year's brood of 17-year periodical cicadas will arrive in early May and be around through mid-June.
- The noise you hear from cicadas is the male singing to attract females. He makes the sound by vibrating membranes on the side of his body, underneath his wings.
- The song of just one periodical cicada can be as loud as nearly 90 decibels. If you're standing right next to him, it would sound as loud as a power lawn mower!
- Cicadas are NOT locusts. Locusts are migratory insects related to grasshoppers.
- Periodical cicadas are smaller than the annual cicadas we see and hear every summer.
- Cicadas don't hurt people or pets. You can keep several in a shoebox with twigs for a day or two, then let them go. Make sure the environment is moist so they don't dry out.
- The brown casings you'll find are the cuticles (called 'exuviae') cicada nymphs shed after they emerge from the ground and molt into adults.
- Periodical cicadas cause damage by laying eggs in tree twigs and branches. Females cut a small slit in young branches with their ovipositor, then drop the eggs into the space.
- Female cicadas will lay eggs about a week after they emerge. After 6 weeks, the eggs will hatch, and the babies, called nymphs, will drop to the ground, where they will burrow into the soil for another 17 years.
- Cicadas feed on plants, but they don't carry any plant diseases.
- Developing cicada nymphs feed underground on plant roots while adult cicadas feed on above-ground plant parts of trees and shrubs. They don't damage flowers.
- Young trees with small branches are most susceptible to cicada damage.
- The best way to prevent cicada damage is to put nets around young trees.
- Cicadas are edible. You can look for recipes online. (Cicada recipes).