Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Happening Now

Cicadas To Emerge Next Month After 13-Year Absence

Broods of cicadas are expected to emerge throughout the Upper Cumberland next month after spending 13 years underground.

Jackson County Agriculture Extension Agent Dill Hughes said the two separate broods operate on 13 and 17-year cycles respectively. He said due to the Upper Cumberland’s location and climate, we often see the emergence of both. He said despite the bad rap, the noisy insects have a very limited negative impact.

“They don’t feed on foliage of plants,” Hughes said. “But some of the adults can feed on some of the twigs to a limited degree. So, there’s really not a whole lot you can do about them and there’s really not a whole lot of damage that they do.”

Hughes said when the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees in May, the bugs will begin to emerge just after sunset. He said it takes some five days before the males begin the seemingly inescapable mating call that many remember from the last emergence in 2011.

Jackson County residents can expect a heavy population. There are also broods expected to emerge around Cookeville, according to national prediction maps. Hughes said areas like White, Warren, and Van Buren Counties may be less affected.

“Some trees like apple, pear, dogwood, oak, and hickory are some of the favorite hosts, and there’s others,” Hughes said. “And what the females do is, they will lay eggs. They’ll lay 24-28 eggs. They’ll make a slit in small twigs, about the size of a pencil, and they’ll lay eggs in those. And then they continue down the limb and they can have as many as 20 slits.”

He said the females can lay as many as 400 to 600 eggs. He said though they cause no real harm, some of the negative connotations that come with the cicadas likely stem from beliefs of Native Americans and early settlers who believed that the cicadas were locusts signifying a plague.

“Folks fear that things will be destroyed and crops will be destroyed, and that’s kind of where that stems from, but that’s not the case,” Hughes said.

Hughes said adults live for four to five weeks. He said when nymphs hatch, they attach to roots in the soil where they will stay for another 13 years before returning. Only two percent of those nymphs will survive. Hughes said an app called Cicada Safari allows people to report cicada sightings and help scientists track activity.

Share