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Cicadas

The word Cicada derives directly from the Latin "Cicada", in Greek they are called "Tettix" or "Tzitzi".

Cicadas are flying, plant-sucking insects of the Order Hemiptera; their closest relatives are leafhoppers, treehoppers, and fulgoroids. Adult cicadas tend to be large (most are around 20-50mm), with prominent wide-set eyes, short antennae, and clear wings held roof-like over the abdomen.

Cicadas are best known for their acoustic signals or "songs", which the males make using specialized structures called tymbals, found on the abdomen.

The harvest-fly or dogday cicadas (Tibicen sp.) are large, stout, dark insects with lighter markings and greenish margins on the wings. The dogday cicadas are up to 2 inches long, including the wings. At least seven species of Tibicen are found in North Carolina. One species of Cicada and one species of the petit Cicadetta also occur.

Cicadas are flying, plant-sucking insects of the Order Hemiptera; closest relatives are leafhoppers, greenhoppers, and fulgoroids

Are periodical cicadas dangerous?

Normally cicadas do not bite or sting defensively, nor do they normally attack people. If a cicada lands on you it does so only because it finds you to be a convenient place to land. Basically, periodical cicadas can hurt you only if they mistake you for a tree branch and try to feed.

When handled, both males and females struggle to fly at first, and males make a loud defensive buzzing sound. Periodical cicadas are not known to transmit disease.

Periodical cicadas can cause physical damage to small trees or shrubs if too many feed from the plant or lay eggs in the twigs; such damage can cause breaking of peripheral twigs. Orchard and nursery owners probably should not plant young trees or shrubs in the years preceding an emergence of periodical cicadas, because young trees may be harmed by severe "flagging".

The simplest way to protect small trees and shrubs from damage is to physically prevent cicadas from feeding and ovipositing by covering the plants with screening material like cheesecloth. Periodical cicadas are often too numerous to make application of pesticides practical.

It is expected that Periodical cicadas will invade parts of Ohio, Maryland and Cincinnati and other parts of the US in May 2004.




 
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