Are Periodical Cicadas a Threat to Field Crops?

Are periodical cicadas a threat to field crops? The quick and dirty answer to this question is NO. Are they a threat to the health and welfare of anything? There is no quick and dirty answer to this question.

The best way to answer the second question is to start by looking at what the periodical cicada is, what it feeds on, where one would expect to find them, and its life cycle.

The periodical cicada or 17-year cicada is an insect with an extremely long life cycle that takes 17 years to get from the egg stage to the adult stage. Some people mistakenly refer to this insect as a locust. Unfortunately, locusts and cicadas are not one-in-the-same.  Locusts are a type of grasshopper (Order Orthoptera).  Cicadas (Order Hemiptera) are not grasshoppers. And the 2 look nothing like one another.

grasshopper

Grasshoppers

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Periodical Cicadas are Poised to Emerge

Authors Joe Boggs
Periodical Cicada
Periodical Cicadas (Magicicada spp.) take either 17 or 13 years to complete their development out-of-site in the soil.  Adults emerge en masse in the spring.  The name of the genus captures the almost magical appearance of these insects:  Magi– comes from the Ancient Greek magos which means “magician.”

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