Cicadas: The good and the bad

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(WTAJ) — As the soil temperature started to rise to 64°, cicada nymphs started to emerge from the ground for the first time in 17 years.

There are signs of them all over Blair and Huntingdon counties southward. Right now they are heading mostly to the tree tops making sounds of up to 105 decibels to attract a mate. After mating, the females come down and that’s when they can do damage to young trees.

According to Tom Ford, a Commercial Horticulture Educator at the Penn State Extension, the females make splits in branches about the size of a number two pencil or smaller. They insert hundreds of eggs in the small slit in the bark. That can damage small branches which can hurt the development of small trees, especially fruit trees.

To protect these trees, wrap all of the branches into a breathable cheesecloth. It is okay to bend the branches to make them fit. Then you will need to tie up the cloth on the trunk of the tree and avoid any gaps for the cicadas to work their way into.

Other than small trees, these insects are harmless. Usually, every living thing on the planet has a purpose. Do cicadas? Yes, they do. They are Mother Nature’s self-pruning agent. When these small branches are damaged, the trees become bushy and healthy.

The cicadas will only be around this month with a few stragglers lasting into July. To learn more about what the cicadas are going, click here.

Lastly, cicadas are considered a delicacy to some. Here are some recipes if you dare to try.

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