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Dealing with Brood X; How to safely protect your trees & garden from cicadas

Brood X is making it's presence known across Central Ohio and that may cause some concern for area homeowners.
Credit: 10tv

COLUMBUS, OHIO--The Brood X cicadas are showing their presence across Central Ohio as the weather continues to heat up. Other than being a massive, loud nuisance, these cicadas may have people wondering about any other problems they might cause.

Dr. Doug Yenaga, Sr. Museum Scientist at the University of California Riverside said that these cicadas are not a major economic concern.


"They're not the kind of thing that kill trees," said Yenaga. "They'll kill twigs, roots, but they won't kill the tree outright."

For those who have flowers and gardens, luckily, these cicadas won't bother them. The cicadas may swarm around your area, but they prefer a woody perennial than a leafy vegetable or flower. For those that have young trees, cicadas may latch onto that and that's where females could damage some of the smaller branches by creating holes in the limbs for their offspring to hatch out of.

Dr. Yenaga recommends getting an insect netting to wrap around these younger trees if it is a concern. These types of netting will have small enough holes to keep the cicadas out and it's better than using harmful chemicals such as pesticides or insecticides to fend off the cicadas.

In fact, Dr. Yenaga said you want to avoid using any of these harmful chemicals at all costs. "All sorts of critters will get at the cicadas and start munching on them. If you sprayed them with some nasty pesticides it's not going to hurt the cicadas as much as it's going to hurt the things that are eating them."

Critters such as birds can be harmed from these poisoned cicadas and other critters can be harmed too. It is also not a good idea to spray the base of the tree with insecticides because it will only hurt the tree as the chemicals will not likely make it deep enough into the soil to even reach the cicadas.

"They'll go away on their own. They don't live more than 2 weeks as adults, so you just have to be a little patient and wait them out."

These cicadas do, however, offer some benefit for your own yard and make a great compost for the garden.

"Insects are perfectly viable for making into compost. They're basically just converted plant juices."