Here in Green Country, we are definitely looking forward to the summer. With a record breaking year in cold weather, we have suffered under arctic cold weather coupled with our usual -20 degree windchill. But better days are ahead… As we look forward to warmer weather, the anticipation is also there for cicadas. These large and loud insects scream across the sky every year. How man cicadas are coming in 2021? Entomologists predict that there will be a lot of cicadas this year. Brood X is estimated to be around one trillion insects!
Cicadas are large insects from the Hemiptera family. They live underground feeding upon the roots of trees until they reach sexual maturity and then emerge with wings. They fly around, searching for a mate. The males emit the high pitch screech that we are so accustom to hearing in the summer. Scientists study the patterns of these insects to predict the number of them coming up for the opportunity to reproduce.
DIFFERENT KINDS OF CICADAS
Not all cicadas are created equally. There are multiple species types. In fact, in Oklahoma we have 41 different kinds of cicadas. These species are generally broken into two groups. There are annual, or dog day cicadas, and periodical cicadas. The annual cicadas are green in color and emerge every year in the beginning of the summer. The periodicals emerge on a 13 or 17 year cycle depending upon their species. Your Oklahoma exterminator is an expert in cicadas.
The periodical cicadas are measured and identified by broods. This year (2021) will be the emergence of Brood X (ten). It will be particularly large, because the 13 year and 17 year broods happen to fall at the same time this time around. Brood X will be large, but honestly, we won’t see it in Oklahoma. This brood will emerge in the eastern states of Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.
THE LIFECYCLE OF A CICADA
Both annual and periodical cicadas have a similar lifecycle. The female will use a sharp organ known as an ovipositor to cut open small twigs and deposit her eggs. The eggs will hatch and feed on the twig until they are ready and then fall to the ground. Here they will dig and attach themselves to a root to feed. They will stay here, depending upon their species, for one year, 13 years or 17 years. Then they will burrow to the surface, molt and expose their wings, and fly, looking for a mate. The males use a high pitch buzzing sound to attract a mate. They will mate and start the process all over again.
Scientists believe that periodical cicadas have such a long lifecycle to protect the species. Cicadas are a large insect with very few defenses. This makes them a perfect meal for predators. By emerging all at the same interval, this brings a huge number of insects to sexual maturity at the same time. The shear numbers of them insure that the species will not die out due to over predation. But how do they know when their time is up? It is believed that cicadas can sense when the trees that they are feeding on produce leaves. By sensing these growing seasons, they can count the years. Your Tulsa exterminator knows more about cicadas.
SHOULD I WORRY?
Cicadas are large insects that make a startlingly loud sound. This can make many people squeamish. But in all actuality, these insects are quite safe. They do not bite or sting humans, and stay as far away from us as they can. The ovipositor of the female is sharp and powerful, but is only used to deposit eggs into a tree, never as a weapon against humans or other predators. Contact your Tulsa pest control company for more details.
The only damage that they produce is to trees when they lay eggs. This happens in late spring to early summer. This process often does kill the small twig in which they lay eggs. Even in years with large broods such as this year, large trees can more than handle the pruning. Small saplings and freshly planted trees may be susceptible. The best protection for that is to cover the tree in a net, or wait to plant until mid summer. But again, this year in Oklahoma, we will only see our regular annual cicadas. That means that even small or freshly planted trees should be fine.
Some people find cicadas a delicacy. These insects are large and full of protein, with a very low amount of fat. People who have eaten them have described them as nutty and earthy. You can dry them out and eat them as a crunchy snack. Some people will also harvest them just after molting when they are still white and soft. At this stage, they are much more like shrimp. The University of Maryland even produced a cook book for these crunchy delicacies.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
In reality, there isn’t much needed to be done in regards to cicada. They don’t pose a health risk, nor do they sting or bite. All the pesticides in the world can’t keep them from flying overhead and buzzing. While tree damage may be a concern in the eastern part of the United States for a month or two this summer, Oklahoma residents have nothing to fear this year. But that doesn’t mean that there are not other pests to be concerned about…
If you are having issues with pests in your home, yard or business, then it is time to contact your Oklahoma pest control professional. Insects, rodents, spiders and other pests are no match for TermMax Pest Control. Call us today for a free estimate. We service the greater Tulsa area including Jenks, Bixby, Owasso, Turley, Collinsville, Claremore, Catoosa, Coweta, Broken Arrow, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Pratville and much more. We are here to help!