Female cicadas use a sharp appendage to slice into tree twigs, where they lay their eggs. Twigs often die, and sometimes they break and droop. This “flagging” can be quite visible in areas with large numbers of cicadas. The damage to mature trees is minor, so pesticide use is not recommended. Cheesecloth, mosquito netting or netting with mesh smaller than 1/4-inch is effective for protecting small trees.
A periodical cicada emergence creates a brief food bonanza for birds and fish. It also creates opportunities for anglers. As fish go on feeding binges, anything resembling a cicada can prompt a bite.
When the brood that is emerging in Missouri this year last appeared, it was joined by a large brood of 17-year cicadas. It was the two broods’ first joint emergence since 1777. Their respective life cycles dictate that such joint emergences occur every 221 years, so the next one will take place in 2219.
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