Moore County homeowners, farmers should protect fruit trees from cicadas

According to Cicada Safari, a crowd sourcing app, Broad X have been spotted as closes as Shelbyville and Columbia. (File Photo)

LOCAL AG NEWS — From all reports, the Broad X cicadas could be headed Moore County’s way any day now.

According to Cicada Safari, a smart phone app and citizen science project that crowd sources the locations of the 2021 periodical cicada hatching, the critters have been spotted as close as Shelbyville and Columbia.

When will Brood X hit Moore County?

Cicadas emerge in large numbers once the soil temperature reaches a consistent 64 degrees and they often burst through the soil after a soaking rain. Experts predicted they’d emerge in southern states in May, so the red-eyes buggers should be here any day now.

Cicadas only stick around a few weeks to mate and hatch eggs then back into the ground they go but local agricultural officials warns Moore County folks with fruit trees, especially young fruit trees, to prepare now to avoid damage.

According to UT Extension officials after all the noisy mating, the female cicada will select woody shoots on trees and cut slits in the bark in which she will lay her eggs. The cicada prefers woody growth from the previous year that has relatively thin, smooth and soft bark and which is about the same diameter as a pencil.

“Even a single female cicada may cause a lot of injury,” says David Lockwood, a University of Tennessee Extension specialist who works with fruit and nut tree growers. “However, the high cicada populations that are expected to appear can magnify damage expectations immensely.”

Pesticides often don’t work on cicadas. Instead, local agricultural official recommend wrapping fruit trees, especially young fruit trees, with cheesecloth or other breathable fabrics to prevent cicada egg laying. (Photo Provided)

Should a Miss Cicada burrow her way into your fruit tree, the damage can be catastrophic. Since pesticides aren’t effective at controlling cicadas, agricultural experts recommend loosely wrapping young trees with cheesecloth or other breathable fabric to prevent females from laying her eggs in your tree.

Annoying but beneficial critters

They may be loud and annoying but cicadas are actually beneficial for area farmers. They naturally aerated the soil, offer a food bonanza to all kinds of predators like the bass fish in Tims Ford Lake, and as they die they contribute massive amounts of nitrogen and other nutrients into the soil.

If you’d like to participate in the Broad X geolocation project, you can download the Cicada Safari app on both Apple and Android for free. Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati developed the app. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only daily newspaper in Lynchburg. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}