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Insider Blog: Cicada eggs could damage trees

The incessant buzz of the periodical cicada broods has died down but those bugs left something behind that may be affecting some of your plants. Cicada eggs are lurking in trees all around as the next generation prepares to hatch in a few weeks. While they don't typically cause heavy damage, these eggs could injure twigs in otherwise healthy trees.

Cicadas lay their eggs by first slicing into small tree limbs using a sharp appendage. The cicada will deposit dozens of eggs into slits along a branch or twig. Nymphs hatch after a few weeks and fall to the ground where they burrow and feed on sap from tree roots. These are the bugs that will emerge from the ground in 13 years as the next periodical brood.

Cicadas can only cut into smaller and weaker twigs but this means younger trees can be especially vulnerable. Isolated twigs may brown or younger trees can be overwhelmed with many branches becoming sick. It's too late to stop the already lain eggs but you can prune away damaged twigs from affected plants. Cicadas are not a danger to trees when they are in the ground feeding on nutrients in roots.

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Nate Splater

Nate forecasts on the weekend edition of ABC 17 News This Morning on KMIZ and FOX 22, KQFX.


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