Cicadas Are Back In North Texas

Chelsea Wade
July 24, 2019 - 1:08 pm
Cicada

Credit: J.Burkett Photo

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DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - There's a buzz in the air as the cicadas serenade us with their annual song.

"I don't think they are any noisier than they usually are. I think we forget how loud they can be," said Mike Merchant, Entomology Specialist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. "However, there are other types of cicadas that come out in larger numbers in certain years. We call them periodic cicadas. In some areas, you may be encountering them. Texas is on the edge of the range of one of the broods. This year, we are seeing them in counties along the Red River, but for most of the Metroplex, we're just seeing the annual cicada or the 'Dog Day' cicada that is common in our region." 

Some researchers have put cicadas at the top of the list of the loudest insects on the planet. But if they're driving you crazy to the point you've contemplated, or even Googled, how to get rid of them, Merchant said it's a job probably best left up to Mother Nature. "There's really no effective control for cicadas. They live in the root zones of trees during the winter and that's not normally a place you would apply an insecticide and once they are out and about, they're everywhere and not a place you can spray them. Birds take care of them and we have a wasp called the 'Cicada Killer.'"

Many North Texans have taken to social media, posting pictures of cicadas' exoskeletons which are usually found attached to sides of homes and fences. But another sign you've got cicadas nearby: dime to quarter-size holes in the ground.

"The wasps catch cicadas and paralyze them with a sting. Then they dig down in the ground with them and lay an egg. When the egg hatches, it'll feed on the cicada larva and become next year's Cicada Killer brood," said Merchant. "The 'Cicada Killers' are one of our state's biggest wasps. The males can be aggressive, but totally harmless to humans."

According to Merchant, cicadas and locusts are not the same thing. "They're not even closely related."