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A Sad Love Story - The Truth Behind Cicadas

Updated: Jun 23, 2021

Seventeen (17) years in the making, teenage cicadas are emerging from the ground. Residents are calling saying they are scared and want the large bees to be exterminated.

Pause Before Acting:

Before we send out the termination squad, let's take a look into the history of cicadas, what they are, why they are here, and are they a threat to humans? What are these creatures and what is their purpose, other than buzzing around, creating loud noise, and scaring residents???

History of the Cicada:

Starting their life as an egg on the ground, nymphs hatch from the eggs and borrow down into the earth. The herbivore creature lives underground for seventeen (17) long years, sucking nutrients from the roots of trees and plants in the ground. As time matures and the temperature of the soil reaches 64 degrees F at 8" of depth, the teenagers bridge to adulthood and work their way toward the sunlight. Appearing on earth, new adult cicadas have two purposes: find a mate and create offspring before they die.

Just a Love Story in the Making:

The male cicadas sing their hearts out calling their mates...a sound that can be compared to the volume of a lawn mower or a large truck, especially since all of the cicadas emerge at the same time! The male cicada will approach a female cicada, sit next to her, and sing a few toons. She either shews him away (especially if she has already mated), or accepts.

But their story of love is limited:

- Few cicadas actually make it to mate in their lifetime, without becoming prey themselves.

- Adult cicadas only live for 2-6 weeks.

- After mating and laying eggs, they die within a few days to a few weeks.

Why are Cicadas Important for the Earth?

Many residents are scared of these big red-eyes of creatures. Because they are large and loud, residents fear that cicadas may sting or bite like other bees (but they don't)! Although they are not the best pollinators, either, cicadas do serve many purposes for the world:

- They are a delicacy for many animals, including humans.

- As herbivores, cicadas prune mature trees without attacking or killing the tree (unlike other pests).

- Cicadas feed off of weak branches that would otherwise need to be pruned.

- When Cicadas die, they provide nutrients into the earth that feed the plants, completing a full circle of life.

Why are Cicadas Important to Homeowners?

Although their sound and size may be intimidating, especially to kids, Cicadas feed on trees and weak limbs that would otherwise have to be pruned by a tree vendor. Their appearance helps save the Association funds! Meanwhile, the Cicadas are helping complete the circle of life. They feed on the tree leaves and weak bark, and when they die, they become nitrogen to feed the trees. The nitrogen is an excellent nutrient which may also save the Association from spending operating funds on feeding the trees.

Next Time...

Before asking your manager to send out a pest control technician to kill the cicadas, remember the cost savings Cicadas provide, and their beautiful love story!!!


Bricck Property Management is a boutique property management firm, offering best-in-class property management services to Condominiums, Homeowner's Associations, Planned Communities, Active Adult Communities, Lifestyle Communities, Apartments (Multi-Family living), and Offices.

We are located in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and serve the Greater Philadelphia Area, Delaware Valley Region, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. Contact us today for a proposal for your property management needs.

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