CICADA

by Carl White, Master Gardener

 

We are all familiar with the sounds of summer including bird calls, trilling of crickets, drone of bees and most incessant is the buzzing of the cicada. Of the Order Hemiptera, these are true bugs and are closely related to leafhoppers, froghoppers and spittle bugs.

The life cycle of the cicada begins with the laying of eggs by the female in plant stems where the emerging nymph lives on the plant xylem (fluid). Soon they drop to the ground and burrow into the soil, feeding on roots using a beak called a rostrum.  Some species remaining as a nymph for 13 and some species 17 years. The majority of the species we see and hear emerge annually, the longer life cicadas are in more northerly states. As they emerge in 17 year cycles, botanists have placed them in Brood numbers, and Brood VII is hatching in the Great Lakes Region of New York this year.

The buzzing sound is made by the male cicada, using a flexing organ along their sides called a tymbal. The flexing of the tymbal in and out produces a clicking sound which they make most of the month they are alive. Emerging cicadas will crawl up a plant stem or tree trunk where the exoskeleton is shed an

We are all familiar with the sounds of summer including bird calls, trilling of crickets, drone of bees and most incessant is the buzzing of the cicada. Of the Order Hemiptera, these are true bugs and are closely related to leafhoppers, froghoppers and spittle bugs.

The life cycle of the cicada begins with the laying of eggs by the female in plant stems where the emerging nymph lives on the plant xylem (fluid). Soon they drop to the ground and burrow into the soil, feeding on roots using a beak called a rostrum.  Some species remaining as a nymph for 13 and some species 17 years. The majority of the species we see and hear emerge annually, the longer life cicadas are in more northerly states. As they emerge in 17 year cycles, botanists have placed them in Brood numbers, and Brood VII is hatching in the Great Lakes Region of New York this year.

The buzzing sound is made by the male cicada, using a flexing organ along their sides called a tymbal. The flexing of the tymbal in and out produces a clicking sound which they make most of the month they are alive. Emerging cicadas will crawl up a plant stem or tree trunk where the exoskeleton is shed and the adults go about doing their intended task for the week to a month of their life, then the eggs cycle has begun again.

Easily caught by hand, these are harmless bugs, some quite colorful, and all quite noisy. So remember, when annoyed by the constant buzzing, the bug has been waiting 17 years for his moment.

 

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