In the Maryland and D.C. Region, the Brood X 17 year cicadas are expected to start emerging sometime between the first and second week of May. As billions of these gross, but harmless red eyed bugs emerge, they will mate, lay their eggs by late June and then should mostly be gone by late July.
Cicadas are beneficial to the environment in several ways. They are a food source for several types of wildlife including birds and fish. As cicadas start to emerge, small holes will appear in the earth, mostly around trees, and this acts as aeration for soil which is great for lawns. When they die their carcasses provide beneficial nutrients for soil.
So why am I writing this blog about cicadas instead of insurance? Well, when reading about the arrival of these critters I became concerned about two areas of importance to me, my dog, and my newly planted garden beds. I did a little research on these two topics and thought I would share it with you.
First, cicadas are not harmful for dogs or cats to eat as long as it's not too many. Cicadas have a very hard exoskeleton that make for a crunchy and delicious snack for pets, but too many could cause digestive issues which might lead to vomiting or potty trouble. The other concern would be a possible choking hazard since the hard shells could get stuck in your pet's throat. Since none of us really know how our pets will react when they see millions of these insects buzzing around them, the best advice I have read is to simply pay really close attention to your pets when outdoors, especially when the cicadas first appear. If they seem indifferent to them, then you shouldn't have much to worry about. On the other hand, if they seem to be chasing them constantly and of course munching on them, then it is best not to leave your pet unattended for long so that they don't have time to spoil their dinners by eating too many. Also, make sure your pets get water as soon as they come back inside just to help wash down their snack if they happened to ingest a couple.
In late March and early April, my wife and I decided to rip up all the the dead and dying bushes in the front flower bed of our house. Gardening is not our forte, but we wanted to improve the curb appeal of our home so we worked really hard and spent a decent amount of money on planting about 30 new ornamental trees and shrubs. We felt very pleased with our accomplishment until I read an article about how cicadas can damage new planting and small, immature trees and shrubs. UGH! I immediately called the nursery that we bought the plants from and after asking why they didn't warn us about this at the time we purchased our plants, I got some very helpful advice. They recommended screening the new plants prior to the emergence and leaving the screens on at least until the egg laying part of the cicada invasion is over. Cicadas do not eat or target young plants, but they lay their eggs on branches and leaves of pretty much any type of plant and that can damage newer plantings. There is no danger to large mature trees. Since cicadas are very large insects the nursery recommended that I buy garden screen with no larger than 1/4" holes so that the bugs cant get inside the screen. I found plenty of options on Amazon and also bought some zip ties and yard stakes all for around $60. I put the screen down in about 20 minutes and it wasn't a lot of effort. I just really hope it works!
There you have all of my pet and plant cicada advice, I hope it helps!
Check out the video below for more info!