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Cicadas In PA Emerging After 17 Years

July 18, 2013

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Cicada on a tree branch

Cicadas are recognizable by their red eyes and the loud buzzing sound they make to attract a mate.

Have you heard them? Cicadas have been out for a while now and many people are probably wondering what that loud buzzing sound is! Well, we’re here to tell you it’s probably cicadas and they’ve emerged from their underground colonies to attract mates so that the reproductive time of their lives can begin. There are 6 different species of cicada; half of which emerge after 13 years underground and the other half which emerge after 17 years. Separately, these species are called broods and in Pennsylvania, all of the broods that are present will emerge after 17 years. This year we are expecting to see one of the 17 year broods emerge and if you’ve not seen or heard it already, the population is expected to be enormous. 

Cicadas are insects that spend most of their lives underground. They are born in trees, but then the juvenile cicadas fall to the ground and burrow into the soil, feeding off the juices from plant roots. When the cicadas are fully mature and ready for mating, they dig their way up out of the ground and climb into trees, looking for a partner with which to mate. The males sing out their mating call, which is that loud buzzing sound you hear. Once they have found a partner, the female cicada will cut slits into tree branches in order to lay her eggs. After this, she dies and falls to the ground, along with the male cicadas, which also die after mating. 

When the eggs hatch, the juveniles fall to the ground and the whole 17 year process beings again! It is a fascinating life cycle, especially since it takes so long (17 whole years!) for the cicadas to reach maturation. Witnessing an emergence of cicadas can also be fascinating, but the sounds they make are actually known to be deafening, especially when a huge population (think in the millions!) of cicadas are singing out their mating calls. The sound they make can sound like a loud buzzing, but this is often the most annoying aspect of a cicada infestation. These insects do not bite or sting and aren’t known for infesting houses in PA either. They may inflict some damage to the trees in which they lay their eggs, as slits in branches and twigs can weaken the limbs, causing them to snap in windy weather. Fortunately for us, this is pretty much the extent of the damage they can cause, so treatment for cicadas is usually not necessary.  

The loud buzzing may drive you crazy, but luckily it is only for a short time. Cicadas only spend a couple of weeks emerging from the ground and mating; after that, the sheer number of dead cicadas that can be found on the ground are an impressive sight to see (you'll recognize them by their red eyes)!  If you have cicadas on your property that have been driving you crazy; don’t worry- they will be gone soon! If you have questions about these insects and would like to learn a little more about them, contact the PA pest control professionals at Moyer Indoor | Outdoor. Our technicians can explain more about these insects, as well as explain why treatments may not be necessary for them.  

For any other pest control concerns you may have, give us a call today; one of our friendly customer service representatives would be happy to set up your first inspection for your Pennsylvania home or business. 



Tags: 17 year cicadas  |  cicada brood