Brood X Cicadas: Lawn & Garden Concerns

Just when we were all feeling the relief of making it through 2020 and COVID-19, here come the Brood X cicadas! After spending 17 years underground, the cicada swarms have finally emerged, and they are causing some anxiety about how to handle them if they invade your yard. Let us provide some insight on what to do if you are “lucky” enough to have them in your area.

Has Brood X emerged?

Ohio is one of the states in which cicadas are emerging, especially in the warmer counties of Columbus. According to the Columbus Dispatch, swarms are beginning to pop up in various areas. While they have not all arrived yet, the number of emerging cicadas will continue to grow as temperatures rise. You may have even heard some buzzing cicadas during the Memorial Golf Tournament in Dublin, Ohio!

How will I know if they are in my area?

While the question of whether or not you will be affected by the cicadas still exists as we wait for the rest of them to emerge, you will definitely know it if they choose to come to your area! According to Michael J. Raupp, an entomology professor at the University of Maryland, these insects are incredibly loud, emitting sounds with a similar decibel to lawn mowers or even low-flying airplanes.

During the cicada season, they will spend their time searching for a mate. The reason for the loud buzzing is to assist with their mating rituals. Besides the loud noises, there will also be no question as to whether they have arrived in your area due to the large amount of insects. If you are affected, substantial swarms will be present, and you won’t miss them! 

If I am affected, what precautions should I take?

While they may be a real nuisance, cicadas are not actually harmful! They will generally leave humans, animals, and most landscaping alone. However, there are some tips for how to protect yourself and your yard from these insects if they do invade your space.   

Lawn Care

The reason for the loud buzzing of the cicadas is to attract a mate. Therefore, you’ll definitely want to avoid loud noises in your yard while they are out on the hunt! You wouldn’t want them to mistake you for a potential mate! 

The cicadas are less active during the early morning and at dawn. It would be best to maintain your lawn during those cooler hours. Try to temporarily adjust your usual lawn care routine by cutting your grass, trimming your hedges, and using your leaf blower in the early morning or late evening. 

If you are still being bothered by swarming cicadas while you are caring for your yard, consider some protection for your eyes and face. Protective glasses and/or a mesh face covering could help keep these insects away from you while you are working outside. 

Protect Your Plants

The Brood X cicadas are generally harmless, but they may still make a mess of things. According to an article by USA TODAY, “The main concern for your yard is when the insects begin to lay their eggs up in the trees. While more mature trees can handle this, the smaller, weaker, or younger trees may experience some damage as eggs stay put until they eventually hatch approximately four to six weeks later.”

In order to keep your trees, bushes, and other plants safe, it is recommended to purchase a garden net or barrier of some kind. Be sure to keep the net secure to best protect your plants from cicada eggs and invasion. 

Avoid New Plantings & Pesticides

Due to the extreme number of emerging cicadas, experts suggest waiting until early fall to plant any new trees, bushes, flowers, etc. to ensure protecting your landscaping from lingering cicada eggs or any other damage. 

Additionally, you may be tempted to use various chemicals and pesticides to speed up the process of eliminating these insects. However, with the overwhelming number of cicadas, using a pesticide is not necessarily an ideal option. You may either have a ton of dead cicadas to clean up in your yard or you will find that all that time, effort, and money you put into the pesticides won’t actually get rid of all of them anyway. 

Keep reassuring yourself that this season is temporary, and they won’t be around for too long! 

How long will the cicadas be here?

It may feel like forever while the cicadas are invading your yard and driving you crazy… but remember that this invasion will end! The lifespan of a cicada ranges between 4-6 weeks. Most of the cicadas should be out of sight (and sound) by the end of July. 

What do I do after they leave?

By the end of July, we should all finally have some freedom from the cicada invasion! But how do you maintain a beautiful and healthy landscape when they are finally gone?

You have a few tasks to complete for proper post-cicada cleanup:

Quick Cleanup 

Remove the unsightly appearance of dead cicadas in your yard by grabbing a broom and dust pan (or even a snow shovel) and clear your yard as frequently and quickly as you can. It is said that dead cicadas can radiate an unpleasant smell, so keep an eye on your yard throughout July as their season ends and begin cleaning up! You can either bury the cicada bodies in a deep hole in your backyard to repress an odor, put the cicadas in your compost, or keep them in a trash bag outside until trash night. 

Clean Gutters, Pools, and Hot Tubs

Your yard and gardens are not the only areas that’ll need to be cleaned up once the cicadas are out of the picture. Be sure to take some time to clean out your gutters with a gutter scoop and bucket. You certainly don’t want any clogs because any backup can cause damage to your home and foundation. 

You’ll also want to remove any remaining carcasses from pools, hot tubs, fountains, etc. Grab your pool skimmer or a small nylon pool brush, and clean off the surfaces of any water features. 

Let Cicadas Decompose 

Letting your cicada carcasses decompose in your yard might sound like a strange idea, but there are some benefits! As these insects decompose, they release sources of nitrogen. Nitrogen can be an incredibly beneficial nutrient for your grass, soil, plants, flowers, etc. 

Don’t forget that Kurtz Bros. offers a yard waste recycling option. For more information about this feature as well as what we do and do not take, check out our waste recycling details. 

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