Pest Type: Insect
Damage to Plant: Feeding by the insects usually doesn’t do much harm, but slits made for egg-laying cause twig die-back.
These 1 to 2 inch long aphid relatives have a black or mottled body, prominent reddish eyes, short antennae, and transparent wings, Periodical cicadas appear in late spring or early summer; the less harmful dog-day cicadas show up in mid to late summer. Male insects produce a loud buzzing “song” by vibrating membranes on the underside of the abdomen.
Life Cycle: These pests spend most of their lives below ground as nymphs, feeding on tree and lawn roots. Each brood of dog-day cicadas spends 2 to 4 years developing underground; periodical cicadas spend about 13 years below ground in the South, 17 years in the North. Once the nymphs dig their way out, they climb into trees and molt for the last time. The adults live for several weeks, during which time they mate and lay eggs in twigs. After about 2 months, the eggs hatch; the nymphs drop to the soil and tunnel down.