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Get Ready, Brood X Cicadas Are Coming

Do you remember much from 2004? Facebook was first launched, George W. Bush was president, oh and… there were cicadas—a lot of them. Every 17 years, Brood X cicadas emerge and take over. If you’re concerned about these insects invading your outdoor space, let us help you prepare!

What are Brood X: Cicadas?

Brood X cicadas are a type of periodical cicada. This means they have a fixed lifespan and the adult form of the insect only appears once every set number of years. In the case of Brood X cicadas, that number is 17. The adults emerge every 17 years for the sole purpose of mating and laying hundreds of eggs. Cicadas call many states home, including Pennsylvania.

How to Identify Brood X: Cicadas

One of the main identifying (and unforgettable) traits of a Brood X cicada is its high-pitched mating call. Don’t expect the gentle chirping of summer crickets: cicada calls have been identified as “somewhere between a motorcycle and chainsaw.” In terms of physical identification, they will also be hard to miss. There will be many of them, and they are quite large. Don’t be surprised if you find them throughout your yard, home, and one may even try hitching a ride on you.

When are the Cicadas coming?

Brood X cicadas will emerge quickly once the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees. The invasion will be powerful but will likely only last from mid-May until the end of June. It will be a short-lived but highly memorable experience.

How many Cicadas will there be?

The number of cicadas is not for the faint of heart: we are expecting billions to emerge from the ground. While their lifespan is short, they will make up for it in sheer volume. For at least a few weeks, cicadas will be a part of your everyday life when you go outside.

Can Cicadas cause damage?

Brood X cicadas do not harm people, but they are a danger to some trees, especially delicate fruit trees. After mating, the males immediately die off. It is then the pregnant female cicada’s job to cut slits in twigs and branches, where they will deposit their eggs. After she lays her eggs, she too will die. Eventually, the eggs will grow into nymphs, drop out of the twigs and branches they were laid in, and then burrow into the ground where they will grow and wait for another 17 years. The damage is caused by those slits in the twigs and branches, which will die and fall off in 1-2 years.

How to Protect Your Garden from Cicadas

When the Brood X cicada invasion begins, you should be prepared to cover your trees with cheesecloth or by tightly wrapping bird netting around the tree. Besides that, there isn’t much you can do. You can’t stop the invasion, and they are relatively harmless creatures. You won’t need to apply your usual methods of pest control. One of the best things you can do to keep your sanity is to buy some earplugs!

Post-Cicada Clean-Up

Brood X cicadas will leave a final parting gift: piles of their dead bodies. Wildlife like birds and squirrels will be quite happy with the feast, but human noses may not be as pleased. For a few weeks, there may be a terrible odor left behind. One possible solution is to take a leaf blower or something similar to remove the corpses from your sidewalks, porches, and patios.

While the Brood X cicada invasion may not be the most charming or beautiful event of the year, it is definitely something worth witnessing. If you have any concerns about Brood X cicadas in Allentown, or have any pest control questions, please contact us. We’re always happy to help.


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