Crickets and Cicadas Seeds


As Brood X hatches and millions of black, buzzing insects descend on our lawns and trees, many people are wondering what this will mean for their yards. Will the cicadas eat our plants? Will they clog our gutters? In reality, a little research goes a long way in calming fears. Let’s break down the basics of crickets and cicadas and see how these insects can benefit our landscape.

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A cicada spends 13 or 17 years underground as a nymph, surviving on liquid sucked from tree roots. Over the course of their years beneath the ground, nymphs shed (or molt) five times, until they finally reach topside as adults. It takes a newly emerged cicada 30 minutes to harden its carapace, pump its wings full of blood and float into the air. This enables it to overwhelm predators, from songbirds to skunks. It also helps it to survive in densities of up to 1.5 million crickets and cicadas seeds per acre, which is more than any other insect can handle—and far more than a locust plague, despite the fact that the two bugs share some similar traits.

Male cicadas emit “calls” to attract females. The songs are created by a pair of specialized organs in their abdomens, called tymbals. When flexed, they vibrate, producing the familiar buzzing sound that draws so many people to cicadas. The calls are also used for mating, communicating danger and settling territorial disputes.

Cicadas don’t bite, and their dead bodies recycle nutrients back into the soil. They are a good source of protein for livestock and humans. The Cherokee of North Carolina liked them fried, and some tribes in upstate New York still eat the insects during mass emergences such as the one currently underway.

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