Brood X is here: Here's how to keep cicadas out of your stuff
You can't do much about the noise—but you can protect your home
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You’ve been warned: The cicadas have arrived. The largest generation of cicadas—Brood X—is beginning to emerge across 15 states. These unique cicadas aren’t like the annual cicadas you may be familiar with—they’re called periodical cicadas, and they follow their own cycle.
After spending 17 years underground, these cicadas are making their way above ground, thanks to temperatures beginning to warm up across the country. From here, they'll begin their journey in finding a mate by using a surprisingly loud mating call, a buzzing noise similar to the decibel level of a low-flying plane.
If you've already seen them appear in your area, there’s not much you can do to deter them from hanging around your home. For this reason, we recommend prepping your home and yard before more arrive. Here’s what you can do to protect your property from Brood X and prevent them from making their way inside your home.
Patch up any holes around the home
If you’ve got holes in your screen doors, windows, or pool caging, a few curious cicadas can make their way through.
Don’t worry—cicadas are completely harmless, as they don’t sting, bite, or carry diseases. They’re also pretty clumsy fliers, too, so they’re easy to scoop up and let back outside if they enter somehow.
Cicadas don’t have much interest in going indoors to begin with, experts at Michigan State University say. They also can’t breed while indoors, making any sort of cicada infestation inside your home unlikely.
This being said, to keep the stray cicadas at bay, we recommend patching up any screening around your home with a screen repair kit if possible—this will also help prevent other backyard bugs from getting in, too.
Cover up your patio furniture
If you have any patio furniture or chairs that sit underneath your trees, you may want to consider installing an umbrella or simply moving these items away from your tree line.
After cicadas fly, mate, and buzz about, the female adult cicadas will make their way to tree branches to lay their eggs, which will hatch in about four to six weeks. So, they’ll be spending plenty of time overhead this summer.
Nicholas Martin, entomologist and founder of pest management blog Pest Control Hacks, recommends moving or covering your furniture simply because cicada waste may make its way onto it.
He says, “Cicadas drink tree xylem (also known as sap), which contains amino acids and minerals. In simple words, they need to pee after that.”
This excretion, also referred to as “cicada rain”, isn’t harmful whatsoever and is commonly mistaken as drops of rainwater. If you want to avoid this “rain” during your summertime lounging, we recommend setting up an umbrella or canopy over your outdoor furniture.
Prune trees and shrubs for less activity
As mentioned, cicadas are attracted to trees for mating purposes. To lessen this attraction, you can prune and trim your trees and shrubs regularly. Not only does pruning help to keep cicadas away, but it’ll keep many other pests and insects at bay, not to mention generally keeping your trees healthy.
For small yet tough stems, twigs, and branches, try using the Felco 2 hand pruner, the best pruning shears we’ve ever tested. These will cut through half-inch diameter branches, making it a great tool for most garden pruning.
Be sure to practice caution if you’re not experienced in pruning larger trees and consider calling in an arborist if the job is too extensive or dangerous.
Protect young trees and plantings
Female cicadas lay eggs through a fascinating process where they make small slits into the branch then lay their eggs in them. While this process is harmless to adult trees, young trees may not be able to handle this weight.
Martin says you should cover up any young trees you have with a garden net to properly protect them. You may want to also cover up your garden, flowers, and any other small shrubbery around your property for good measure.
Make sure the net is properly secured around the tree trunks to prevent the cicadas from flying upwards into the trees. Additionally, the net should fit snugly, but not so tight that it begins to pull at the branches—ensure the branches are still hanging naturally when the net is placed.
Use pool and hot tub covers
Cicadas won’t want to intentionally swim in your pool or hot tub, but there’s a chance they’ll accidentally land there.
Unfortunately, once a cicada lands in the pool, there’s a chance they won’t be able to escape. To keep cicadas safe from the water—and, to save you from cleaning up deceased cicadas from your pool or hot tub—we recommend using covers to avoid it all.
This hot tub cover comes in several different sizes and keeps everything from hail, dust, and, of course, pests, out of the water. For a larger pool, this in-ground pool cover is easy to install and comes in several colors.
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