Lets Talk cicadas damage

Brood X of the 17-year cicada are set to emerge this year and if they didn’t go extinct like the last brood did, young fruit trees are in for a world of hurt. Pesticides are not effective Cicada control and I do not personally want to end them like I do other pests. But the females will be damaging any limb about pencil thick.

Theory 1, cicada damage to an established tree will promote flowering and fruit production next year.

Theory 2, cicada damage to an established tree will promote blacknot, firelight and other fungal infections

Theory 3, young trees 1-2 years in the ground need protection.

I plan to be extra diligent with Kocide treatments this year. Any ideas for possible cicada repellents please post your theories and results.

Good discussion here. I think there have been 2 or 3 other Brood x posts since.

Anybody recall cicadas ruining new grafts? Scions = pencil size.

Maybe 2022 better year for extensive topworking apples.

I can’t/ don’t want to wait on grafting this year. Everything is going into a netted nursery bed for the spring until autumn. I don’t remember lots of damage since we are in an area where it was pasture years ago, but I am told the trees just over the hill were LOUD. I assume the cicadas are spreading out from woodland as as they can.
I am looking at nets veggie growers use, to exclude insects without keeping as much heat in like row cover will. I already have hoops and such for row cover. If I had taller trees that survived, I would figure out how to tie nets around those too.

Agree, I don’t want to wait to graft either.

Scott plans to use a lot of Surround, guess that’s what I’ll do too.

Five years ago there was a mass emergence of cicada in my area that caused significant damage to the undersides of my cherry trees. Every tree had hundreds of cicadas and they covered the ground. The damage was not noticeable until these large calloused areas formed a year or so after. I believe it is the tree respond to the wounds? Many become infected with gumming canker. It spreads to my newly planted trees.


I would say that’s very likely the result of the cicadas.
I found similar wounds on my pawpaws just recently though they were not caused specifically by periodic cicadas but by related insects (perhaps locusts or katydids) that inserted eggs in a slit. I have seen these eggs on the trees but fortunately very low incidence.

Agree there are multiple other posts here on this (but here i go responding!). I plan to use Surround.

We should start up a separate thread on Surround once the deluge hits… trading tips and the like.

One of the problems with every 17 years is it is hard to accumulate good knowledge on what to do about them. Those bugs are crafty!


I had a bad cicada experience in the early 1990’s with trees that are now 30 years old.
May have lost a limb or two, but it wasn’t the death of any trees…which I feared seeing a dozen or more insects with their behinds piercing my young trees bark.

Will see how this round compares. Must have been some other besides “brood x” …1991 I am thinking , but i may be missing by a year or so as memory slips. Used to keep detailed records, but I lost those in 1997.

I’ve seen them bad, once, and it made quite the impression. The year was probably 1979, I’d have been 12, but the memories are oh so vivid. I’d put rubber bands around my pants legs before going outside. Otherwise I could stand still for 10 seconds, and there would be 3 or 4 or more climbing up my legs. About dusk I remember looking at some large maple trees and at first thinking the bark was moving…

Over the course of a few 17yr intervals since then, nothing even close. Last one would have been around 2013 and they were noisier than usual that year, but nowhere near as many visible pupa.

Hopefully I (and my fruit trees/plants) do not ever experience something like that, now or ever.


Just found this tip on of all places a Orkin site.
May work good for protecting a few new grafts

Aluminum foil !

This may be a reasonable thing on a few new grafts.
Better than skipping a season .
And or remay bags


One year I was driving from Florida to Kentucky…was 2007 or 2009…and just north of Chattanooga I began hearing this strange background noise. Rolled the window down…and figured it was the cicadas. * 2007 was the first summer I’d ever gone to Florida in middle of summer and I was back in 2009.

*There was no an infestation that year in Kentucky.

Here is one study that says kaolin clay NOT effective in repelling cicadas .


@Hillbillyhort Thanks for that tip. I guess need to wrap the scion stem but not the leaves that grow out of it? I"ve got some organza bags that would work until the scions grow more than a couple inches.

Anybody know how long the egg laying is a threat? Like a month? Will try to figure when the threat starts here.

Yah I think about a month .
I find it amusing that Orkin recommends aluminum foil.


If you hear them ‘singing’ then there is a threat. :slight_smile:


Wonder if cicadas would penetrate Doc Farwells Grafting Compound- just occured to me that may save the day. What do you think?

Never used it . But maybe ?

This study of 10 essentials oils shows that Lavendar oil is effective at repelling female lantern flys. Lantern flys and periodic cicada are in the same order of Hemiptera and while not proven on 17-year locust I will be trying to find out.

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Here is a useful link.
It has a list by state and county of brood X
And a chart of when they lay eggs ,etc .