The familiar loud buzzing in trees across the bluegrass is a traditional sound of summer. While the 2019 cicada season is winding down, more intense insect sounds are in the not-too-distant future.
Annual cicadas have been in tree tops the last few weeks in Kentucky. This type of insect emerges each year. University of Kentucky Extension Entomologist Jonathon Larson said it’s mostly the males who are the loudest. And he says bigger numbers of cicadas will lead to ever more clicking sounds over the next few years. “It’s a mating strategy to try to overwhelm their predators, so there’s so many of them that they could not all be eaten and it’s going to help make them a little more successful. I’d say we’ll see that in 2021, 2025 is another possibility, even 2024,” said Larson
Cicadas spend a great deal of time up in the branches of trees. Larson says, by and large, the bugs don’t damage plant life. “The egg laying, particularly with the periodicals that I mentioned, can be problematic for young trees. They can cause some flagging, where you’ll see these brown branches, kind of hanging in the trees, little twigs hanging in the tree. But, for the most part cicadas don’t have a big impact on our plants,” explained Larson.
All cicada eggs are deposited in the soil. Larson says some cicada species only appear every 13 years or every 17 years. They live on tree sap and grow slowly.
People like you value experienced, knowledgeable and award-winning journalism that covers meaningful stories in Central and Eastern Kentucky. To support more stories and interviews like this one, please consider making a contribution.