WVU experts give insight into the upcoming cicada season

Monongalia

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As the weather warms up, you might be looking forward to some fun activities, but might not be too excited about cicada season.

A new brood of the bugs comes out every year when the soil reaches 65 degrees. This year we will be seeing “Brood X” that last emerged in 2004.

Cicadas are known for giving off a loud buzzing or humming noise which is actually their mating noise. Experts explained that the noise is the loudest in forested areas because that’s where most female cicadas are laying their eggs.

Once they’re here — they will only cause minor problems.

“What you’ll see is some damage to twigs an branches, so if you were planning on planting trees, you might hold off until after the cicada has emerged,” said Elizabeth Rowen, WVU Service Assistant Professor. “So people who are planting new orchards and gardening with new trees might consider waiting a year. “

The piercing and sucking insects feed on tree and plant sap while underground. Once they are above ground, they mate before dying.

Their eggs hatch after a few weeks and then those cicadas burrow in the ground again for another 17 years.

“Sort of a PSA from Entomologists: Cicadas are often called locusts, especially in the United States,” Rowen said. “But locusts are, in fact, grasshoppers and cicadas are more closes related to aphids.”

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