Log Off... Shut Down... Get Outside!

Brood X - The After Effects

Yesterday was another Mystery Monday! Did you solve the mystery?

The answer from yesterday’s post is… Brood X Cicadas!

After mating has occurred, the female cicadas will lay their eggs in small tree branches using their ovipositor (egg-laying organ). This process creates small lacerations on the tree. Soon after egg-laying, these twigs will start to dry out, turn brown, and die. Some might fall to the ground—others may stay up in the tree. This makes no difference to the cicadas, who will hatch in around 6-8 weeks. Once hatched, the cicada larvae will fall to the soil and burrow into the ground, feeding off of tree roots for the next 17 years of their lives. Brood X cicadas will emerge again in the year 2038!

 

 

This natural pruning process of trees is known as “flagging.” Evidence suggests that flagging is beneficial for trees, as they will come back healthier and stronger in future years. There are many other benefits to the periodical cicada emergence as well. They aerate the ground with the holes and paths they create when they first emerge. They are a tremendous food source for animals of all kinds (maybe even your pets indulged!). Once their time has come to an end, they are also an excellent fertilizer as they decompose, introducing great amounts of nitrogen into the soil.

What did you think about Brood X? Will you miss them? Do you look forward to their emergence again in 17 years? Check out the photo below to see the cicada egg-laying evidence - eggs that were found in a tree branch!