- CICADA BIOLOGY
- CICADA PROBLEMS
- BEST CICADA KILLING LIQUID SPRAY
- BEST CICADA GARDEN SAFE SPRAY
- ORGANIC CICADA SPRAY FOR THE GARDEN
- CICADA REPELLENTS
- CICADA GARDEN SAFE DUST
- CICADA KILLING AEROSOL FREEZE
- CICADA TREATMENTS THAT PROTECT TREES AND SHRUBS
- CICADA KILLING GRANULES FOR THE TURF
- PREVENTIVE SYSTEMIC TREATMENTS
- HOW TO SEE CICADA TREE DAMAGE
- CONTACT US
Cicadas are large insects that appear in late spring/early summer and make a lot of noise. Known around the world for being on a “17 year cycle”, many people believe they’re a sign of the “end times”. But every year many are unaware of this 17 year cycle and make an appearance anyway. For this reason they’re commonly seen in large numbers most every year and their songs will be heard all over the United States as the summer season arrives.
Cicadas can fly and will commonly infest residential neighborhoods. Even though they don’t sting, most people are afraid of them. Their large size seems to scare people and when one is seen, it usually gets a lot a attention.
Cicadas are not attractive. They have an almost alien look with bulging eyes and a hard, shell like skin. Large and long clear wings don’t hide their short, stubby body. These insects are only active for a short time each year but when present, you know they are here!!!
Cicadas are 2 1/2″ to 3″ long and easy to see. When active, they will fly from tree to tree in search of a mate and food. Adult cicadas eat mostly sap. Once females have mated and want to lay eggs, they seek small branches of trees and shrubs for egg laying.
The plants targeted will become food for their young. Cicadas will commonly fly from tree to tree, living their complete adulthood in just a few months. When they are spent and die off as summer progresses, adult cicadas will be seen on the ground being preyed upon by birds and other insects. This video shows what they look like up close.
Cicadas are grouped into two main species; Dog Day and Periodical. Dog Day Cicadas are mostly green and black. There are many sub species of Dog Day Cicadas throughout the United States. These are the more common of the two species and appear annually throughout the United States. They seem to fully mature in 2-5 years and at least 15 sub species have been identified.
Periodic Cicadas are mostly black with red eyes. There are at least 5 sub species of Periodic Cicadas and they don’t seem to be as active from year to year as the Dog Day Cicada. Periodic Cicadas take much longer to fully develop; southern species seem to be on a 13 year cycle while northern species seem to take about 17 years to complete their life. The exact range of either species is not known but clearly the eastern half of the Unites States seems to have the bulk of the populations.
Both species make noise. This noise is a loud mating call that will be sung over and over again as summer starts. Male cicadas have large tracheal air sacs in their abdomen and thorax which is used to push air through vibrating organs located on their sides. These sounds will start virtually every morning and continue through most of the day. Though annoying, the sounds of cicadas are not damaging. However, their egg laying and larval development can stress and injure many types of trees and shrubs.
Female cicadas will lay 500 or more eggs once able. These eggs are deposited through a needle like injector, called an ovipositor, and 10 to 20 eggs are sent into likely host trees when she makes her injections. Females will choose small branches and twigs for making these deposits.
Though large hardwoods and other mature, healthy trees probably won’t be hurt by this activity, young plants can suffer. Since the females will inject through several locations once they find a suitable limb or branch, these same branches will probably die in a few months due to the excessive punctures.
Eggs will hatch in 1-2 months and larva will emerge falling to the soil. There they will burrow and feed on the fine shallow root system of the host tree or shrub. As they grow, the larva will move deeper and deeper into the ground where they will stay till fully mature.
Regardless of the species, young cicadas will feed on the sap of the host tree and molt through their “instars” or stages of development. As they reach maturity, they will crawl out of the ground and up the trunk of the host tree. From there they will emerge from their last instar as an adult and fly off to mate and start the cycle again.
They leave a brown “skin shed” on trees and shrubs which will remain for some time if undisturbed. This brown skin was their shell and can be useful at identifying just which trees and shrubs cicadas are targeting. This clue can prove to helpful at identifying stressed trees as well as alerting you to the species of tree which is being targeted. Once this information is known, you will be better prepared for both controlling local populations as well as protecting similar or neighboring trees so they too don’t get infested and damaged.
As described above, cicadas are a problem for two main reasons:
1) The sound they make.
2) The damage they do to trees and shrubs. There are many treatment options available for both keeping them away as well as killing off existing populations.
First, determine what it is you are trying to accomplish regarding your local problem. Next, choose one of the treatment options listed below for the type of problem you want to treat.
BEST CICADA KILLING LIQUID SPRAY
If you have cicadas which are active on your property, there are several treatments available to either repel or kill the population. The one you choose should be based on the size and type of plant you want to treat. Liquid applications will prove the easiest to employ; dusting will provide better control though not practical for large trees or shrubs.
Spreader Sticker: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/additive/spreader-sticker
The Bifen will both kill and repel cicadas. Its odorless, won’t hurt any plant and will provide 2-4 weeks of residual. Add the Spreader Sticker to the mix to insure you get good coverage on the plant. Spreader Sticker doesn’t kill anything by itself; Spreader Sticker is basically an agent which allows the Bifen to coat all the plant surfaces like the leaves, limbs and trunk.
Try to treat as much of the plants you want to protect as possible using one of our SPRAYERS.
Pump Sprayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/good/pump-sprayers
Though male cicadas will land on just about any plant, females ready to lay eggs tend to target plants which will be best suited to become a food supply. By treating these plants before the females start egg laying, you will be able to keep them away and avoid tree damage. Treating as many of your plants will also repel cicadas so they don’t forage on your property which in turn will lead to less noise from them. Though treatments won’t last forever, spraying as many trees and shrubs cicadas are targeting will help to keep them away and kill off those who choose to stay.
BEST CICADA GARDEN SAFE SPRAY
If adult cicadas are targeting your vegetable or fruit garden in search of sap, use VEGETABLES PLUS PERMETHRIN to treat plants you want to protect. Labeled for use on plants that yield fruit or vegetables, this product will protect your plants from all kinds of common garden pests.
Vegetables Plus Perm: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/veg-plus-10-perm
Keep in mind Permethrin won’t last as long as the Bifen because it’s not as strong; treatments will last approximately 1-2 weeks. But because it’s odorless and safe enough to use on any plant, not a bad option.
Now if you don’t have a sprayer or have a large garden to treat, the CYONARA RTS might be better suited for your needs. It too is a sprayable concentrate but it comes in a handy “ready to spray” quart jug. Just hook it up to your garden hose, turn it on and your ready to go. It’s odorless, very effective against cicadas and you get good coverage from each quart. Plus it can be sprayed on garden plants too.
ORGANIC CICADA SPRAY FOR THE GARDEN
For organic gardeners, you can protect your plants with MULTIPURPOSE INSECT KILLER which is approved for use on organic gardens. Treatments will last 1-2 weeks but you can spray daily if needed. Multipurpose Insect Killer can be sprayed over any plant and will both kill and repel unwanted cicadas.
Organic Insect Killer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/organic/liquid/multi-purpose-insect-killer-24-oz
Pump Sprayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/good/pump-sprayers
For non bearing fruit and vegetable plants, BUG PATROL is another “ready to spray” organic concentrate that can be used effectively on cicadas. Ideal for large landscaped areas, Bug Patrol can be sprayed over any flower, shrub or tree in the yard and will over 1-2 weeks of protection.
Cicadas can also be repelled by either liquid spray or sound repellent. These treatments will not kill cicadas but instead, chase them away. When incorporated into the landscape during cicada season, you can successfully keep them out of the yard where these repellents are employed.
CICADA LIQUID REPELLENT
The liquid option is known as PEST RID SPRAY and is made with food grade extracts which are not harmful to plants, insects or animals. Pest Rid can safely be sprayed on any plant you’d like to keep cicada free. So for small areas in the yard, it’s a practical way to chase cicadas away from any plant you’d like to protect.
Treatments will last 2-3 weeks and can be renewed as frequently as needed. The small size comes with it’s own spray nozzle; the gallon jugs can be applied with any standard PUMP SPRAYER.
Pump Sprayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/good/pump-sprayers
ELECTRONIC CICADA REPELLENT
Also worth mentioning is the TRANSONIC PRO REPELLER. Commonly used inside to repel animals like rats and mice, the Transonic has an insect setting which works well on cicadas. Unfortunately the unit is not made for outside use so it’s limited to protected areas only like covered decks or patios. But if you have a small area (3,000 sq/ft or less) and can place out a Transonic where it will be protected from getting wet, you can deploy these units around the homes exterior to help chase away cicadas from a limited area.
CICADA GARDEN SAFE DUST
Another treatment option is the use of dust instead of a liquid. Dusts will last as long as it doesn’t rain which makes it a good choice for areas which are dry or in a drought. DELTA DUST can be applied to just about any plant and will yield 1-2 months of residual as long as it doesn’t get a heavy soaking from irrigation or rain.
If you are treating vegetable or fruit yielding plants, use PERMETHRIN DUST instead. Like the Permethrin Liquid, its safe enough for any edible plant but it won’t last as long as the Delta Dust. Expect to retreat once every 2-4 weeks unless it rains.
Permethrin Dust: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/dust/viper-perm-dust-4-lb
CICADA KILLING AEROSOL FREEZE
The last type of “quick kill” control option is designed for those people who just can’t stand cicadas and want them dead immediately. The use of some HORNET KILLER will take them out on contact. It can reach up to 15 feet and is good for use around the home and yard. Don’t use it inside; it will make a mess.
Bee Hornet Freeze: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/aerosol/hornet-killer-15-oz
CICADA TREATMENTS THAT PROTECT TREES AND SHRUBS
The liquid or dust treatments detailed above will definitely keep adults off desirable host plants. And this will no doubt help keep plant damage minimized. Additionally, by keeping adults off local plants the cicada noise will be reduced.
However, egg laying females cause damage every time they pierce host plants and though old established trees can withstand this activity, young plants will suffer. Furthermore, cicada larva can kill a tree once they establish themselves in the roots. To prevent this from happening, treating the ground directly under the tree is suggested.
If you only have a few trees on your property and want to insure they don’t get infested, treat all of them. If you have too many trees to use this approach, spend some time observing local cicadas and try to identify which trees are being targeted by them. If cicadas like a certain tree for food or egg laying, you will see them landing on it from time to time.
Additionally, if you have found a tree with a lot of brown “skin sheds”, it’s obvious larva like that tree and have only recently left. Such plants will be prime targets for the current seasons eggs since females tend to pick trees that have proven to be good hosts in the past. Ao if you want to minimize the chance any larva making it down into the soil and to the roots of your trees, treat the ground directly underneath them.
CICADA KILLING GRANULES FOR THE TURF
Apply BIFEN GRANULES under the drip line of the tree or shrubs needing protection. They should be renewed every 2 months during the season. Use a GRANULE SPREADER to insure you get good coverage. Bifen works on a wide range of insect pests and will put in place a barrier that will stop migrating cicada larvae so they can’t get down to the roots of the host plant.
Since females can start laying eggs within one month of when the season starts, its best to start treatments early in the summer. Most cicadas will live from May through October so be prepared to make at least 3 treatments. In warm regions, 4 or 5 may be needed and this will also apply to cold areas which stay unusually mild into the fall. Remember, eggs will be hatching long after adult females have died so just because the adult cicadas are gone, it does not mean larva won’t be active and abundant.
The application will keep a residual in the soil so that hatching larva falling off the tree or shrub will die when they try to borrow underground. Larva are easy to kill and the Bifen will effectively intercept them before they can get established.
PREVENTIVE SYSTEMIC TREATMENTS
Another way to protect local trees and shrubs is by using a systemic. These are products that are watered into the ground around your plants. Once in the ground deep enough, the plants root system will absorb the active and distribute it throughout the plants limbs and leaves. Insects which target the plant to feed on sap will ultimately ingest some of the active and die.
Systemics are highly effective once distributed and since treatments can last a year, a good way to reduce plant loss – especially when the target pest is living underground out of site. The only drawback with systemics is that they won’t affect adult cicadas. Additionally, they take a good 30-60 days to get distributed throughout the plant so it’s important that you get applications done in the spring and early summer ahead of the cicadas arrival.
The best systemic for cicadas is DOMINION 2L 21.4%. Commonly used for termites, this product is also labeled for systemic use on non fruit non vegetable bearing plants. It’s also available as DOMINION 1.47% which is a lot less concentrated but equally effective.
Dominion Tree & Shrub: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/dominion-tree-shrub-systemic-insecticide.html
For the garden, DOMINION FRUIT &VEGETABLE .235% is safe enough to use on fruit bearing plants. Like the more concentrated Dominion listed above, treatments will distribute throughout the plant and once in place, help protect it from any pest that might try and feed on limbs, leaves or roots in the ground.
Dominion Fruit Vegetable: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/dominion-fruit-tree-insecticide-systemic
HOW TO SEE CICADA TREE DAMAGE
If you have any trees or shrubs which have been or are currently serving as a host for cicada larva, its a good idea to treat them with the Bifen Granules too. Feeding larva are essentially eating the life’s blood of your plants and this is not good. Monitor any plants general health making sure to give it some extra food and water should it appear to be affected by the infesting cicadas.
The use STRESS DETECTION GLASSES can help you identify when any plant is feeling the stress of parasites such as cicada larva. Use some LIQUID FERTILIZER applied to the ground within the drip line of the plant to help nurture it. Liquid Fertilizer can also be used to root feed any plant which is like giving an IV to a patient.
Liquid Fertilizer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/yard/fertilizer/mont-joy-juice
The liquid form of this fertilizer allows it to be immediately “digested” by the tree or shrub compared to other slow release type nitrogen commonly used in the landscape. This is important as any plants showing stress needs relief quickly. A little food and water will help the host plant from feeding larva; be sure to keep it well fed, watered and protected from further larva or other parasitic insects.
Cicadas are a sure sign summer has arrived. Their mating call will be heard throughout the day and will be loud enough to keep you from sleeping late. More importantly, females can damage host trees with their egg laying. Their piercing ovipositor can cause host plants to loose valuable sap and other fluids. Treat susceptible plants to keep cicadas away. For plants which are showing signs of hosting cicada larva, apply some granules around their base. These granules will kill hatching larva as they fall to the ground and try to borrow beneath the surface in search of plant roots. Intercepting the larva before they get established will help keep your plants healthy and happy. Keep some Hornet Freeze close by for any cicadas you want to kill off quickly. Though adult cicadas are only around for a few months during the summer, cicada larva will be feeding on host plants for several years. Don’t give them a chance to get established; treat local plants to help keep local populations in check.
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
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