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Periodical Cicada

Cicada egg-laying damage is being seen in many areas of the southern two-thirds of the state, where the periodical cicada has emerged. I also noticed this damage last week in Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi, where I was vacationing. This damage appears primarily as the six to ten leaves on the end of a tree or shrub branch turning brown. The dieback is due to slits in the twig made by the female periodical cicadas as they insert eggs into the branch. Any tree or shrub may be attacked, but oaks appear to be preferred.

The inserted eggs will hatch within a few weeks. The hatched nymphs will then drop to the ground and burrow to find a root to feed upon. In the year 2011, they will emerge from the soil to become adults. There are also reports of large numbers of dead cicadas on the ground and a reduction in cicada singing. The males are the singers, and they tend to die before the females.

Author: Phil Nixon


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