Why Do Cicadas Exist?

While cicadas may have been annoying you for however long you’ve been on this earth, they’ve been doing the same to the rest of the planet for anywhere between the last 40 – 200 million years, dating all the way back to the Jurassic Era, with their fossils being found alongside dinosaur fossils, though they have definitely gone through their own changes in appearances over those millions of year.

All the same, their existence and loud droning can often have us asking “why do cicadas exist” in the first place and we’re sure the answers will have you believing their benefits far outweigh their presence, even if you’ve had the unfortunate experience of having them land on you!

We’ll expand below, however for those looking for a fast answer, cicadas exist primarily to connect the food chain in various areas that allow their entire surrounding to prosper from the presence from other insects, to smaller critters to larger animals, fungi, humans and even the trees they feed on.

The Benefits of Cicadas

Though a small number of the cicada population is always around, every 17 years, a huge number of them emerge from the ground and give us their ever familiar orchestra of buzzing, but aside from providing white noise, what other benefits to they bring?

Truth be told, for people, their benefits are limited, relatively speaking, however for some cultures they are considered a food source and to many in the animal kingdom, this rings even more true, playing their part in the food chain for tons of different animals.

Once their short lifespans have run their course, their corpses, sometimes numbering in the thousands in certain areas, will go back to the earth, nourishing the surrounding plantlife giving them added nurtrients to thrive.

Generally speaking though, cicadas truest benefit is simply that they’re food for us and other creatures keeping the food chain linked.

How To Get Rid Of Cicadas

While we completely understand why you’d want to know how to get rid of cicadas, it’s important we first acknowledge they are both rarely, if ever, dangerous in any capacity to humans or our pets. They’d much prefer to even remain outdoors, near or on trees, than come inside our homes or land on us. That being said, they are still considered a nuisance pest due to how annoying their presence can be, even if from their sound alone, so let’s review a few common methods to get rid of them.

First off, we can full send it and go straight to the pesticides, however the hard part is knowing where to place them and how much to use without impacting other insects and throwing off your surrounding ecosystem. Cicadas primiarly do their damage to smaller trees and shrubs that don’t have the hardened defenses that come with age, so this is one area you can spread pesticides around as sapplings, smaller trees and bushes will attract cicadas. Just ensure you read up on what you’re spreading around.

Second option involves churning the soil and dirt so that other insects and birds can access any buried cicada eggs. This can help reduce the overall cicada population when they finally emerge as the number of eggs prior will have been eaten or exposed to the elements unfavorably. This method is only as effective so long as you cover a large area and well, as it’s very difficult to know where cicada eggs are burried, so churning a larger area tends to improve the results by sheer number.

A third method would be planting more trees and shrubbery around your property. This makes it harder for cicadas to get their eggs into hospitible ground which means when they emerge, they will ideally do so away from where you’ve planted and at the very least, there will be less of them to cause an issue.

Lastly we’d suggest introducing more natural enemies to cicadas to your property. Nematodes for instances are tiny insects that will hunt and control cicadas nymphs and other young insects to help control their population. Similarly you can try to attract other natural predators of cicadas like your local bird population, using bird feed to get them used to visiting your property. Do NOT do this though if you’re also using pesticides as it can harm any other animals who may happen to eat affected cicada populations.

And of course, should a more hands off approach be desired, the professionally trained pest techs here at Fenix Pest Control, Inc. are here to help day and night all year long no matter the season. With service locations in Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska and Florida, we’re ready to serve with state of the art equipment and training, no matter the pest! Call your local branch today and be pest free by tomorrow!

 

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