Cicadas are a medium to large bug (2.5-5cm) and there are many species. Despite thier lovely (NOISY) songs and beauty they can still be a pest.
Cicada-Insectworld website (top left), cicada-Iowa State University ( top right)
Exoskeleton-Alan Reed, Rockford Ill (bottom)
They have very long transparent wings, ranging in colour from dark brown to green with red eyes. Some cicadas sing and fly in spring while others in the summer.
Nymphs emerging-Mikes’ house homepage (top left), Lifecycle-cicadas-pictures.com (top right)
Eggs-J. Stein Carter
Habitat and Lifecycle
They occur worldwide. They spend 13 years (and up to 17 in some places) in the soil as nymphs, feeding on tree roots. Eggs are laid on leaves and drop to the ground. They bore to the surface and crawl to a tree and there they stay until they molt into the adult. The males will sing to lure a mate and then the female slits open the bark and lays her eggs in double rows and she can lay 400-600 eggs at a time. The nymphs hatch and drop to the ground below where they will feed on the roots of trees until it is time to emerge.
Diet and Damage
They attack oak, hickory maple, honeylocust, hawthorn, ash, elm, walnut, sycamore, apples, peach, pear, woody shrubs and ornamentals as nymphs. The slits in the branches that the female makes can cause the branches to die back. Usually root damage is not noticed but when the young gnaw the roots then trees and shrubs are exposed to diseases.
In most cases control of these insects is not necessary. Some species of cicada have become extinct. If you have a serious problem then you can:
1) Hand Pick
When you find them destroy them, their larvae & eggs, using the stomp method.
Cicada killer wasp-photo University of Florida Entomology
2) Predatory Insects
Introduce or hope for Cicada Killer Wasps.
3) Sticky Bands
Place a sticky substance such as molasses or tanglefoot on burlap and place around tree trunks. It will trap the newly emerging cicadas. Remove them every morning.
Place fine netting around young trees and tie below the lowest branches.
Prune branches within 4 weeks of egg laying and burn to kill the eggs before they hatch