Get Ready for Cicadas

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According to USA Today, a brood of cicadas is forecasted to emerge from the ground this spring along the East Coast stretching from the Carolinas to the Hudson Valley of New York and could possibly reach us in the Albany NY area. A cicada brood is set to hatch after living underground for 17 years.

When will cicadas emerge?

  • Cicada will emerge sometime in the Spring once the ground begins to thaw.
  • Cicadas should emerge in the South in late April or May and in the cooler states in the North by the latter half of May and into early June.
  • Cicadas will typically emerge once the soil 8 inches below the surface gets to 64 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cicadas in sunny areas of your yard will emerge before cicadas in shady areas.
  • Cicadas in the southern-most states will emerge before cicadas in northern states.

What should you look for before cicadas emerge?

  • Look out for cicada chimneys: These are structures cicadas build out of soil, positioned above the spot where they will emerge.
  • Look for holes the diameter of an adult's finger near the root system of a tree. These are sure signs that cicadas will emerge in the area.
  • While turning over stones or when performing landscaping, you may discover cicada nymphs. Cicada nymphs are a golden-brown color, with black coloration in the area behind their heads.

Cicada Facts:

  • Cicadas are harmless bugs, though males can make a loud buzz when they're alarmed.
  • The largest cicadas have three-inch wingspans.
  • Young, small trees can be damaged when females deposit their eggs inside branches, so they can be a problem for fruit orchards.
  • An adult cicada usually lives for about two to four weeks.
  • Cicadas only come above ground to breed for the next batch of cicadas.
  • Cicadas stay alive underground by drawing fluid from the roots of plants during those 17 (or 13) years.
  • Cicadas aid their host trees by aerating the soil when they emerge, as well as by trimming weaker branches when they lay their eggs.

Why do cicadas wait 13 or 17 years to emerge?

  • There are many theories why, but the primary reason could be that they're trying to avoid predators.
  • Since they emerge only once every 13 or 17 years, no predator species can anticipate their emergence (except man), and emerging in large numbers ensures that at least some of them will survive to reproduce.
  • The long life-cycles could also help these cicadas avoid interbreeding with other Broods, as well as, avoid extinction from long stretches of fatally cold weather.

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