Cicadas diminishing, shouldn't damage trees

By Chris Swick
July 09, 2015

The 17-year cicadas are about finished with their noisy summer stint occupying oak trees.

During their relatively short stay, they may have inflicted some damage to the trees. Not to worry, according to K-State horticultural entomologist Raymond Cloyd. That cicada damage is largely cosmetic, and poses no health threat to the oaks whatsoever.

“What people need to understand is, before the decline, the females laid eggs into the branches of trees,” Cloyd said. “Primarily oak, but other types as well. And they have these very sharp ovipositors and they jam them into the tree branches. What people may start noticing, probably over the next month, is the tips dying back.”

Cloyd says that incisions can be seen on those dying spots, which is where the cicada laid her eggs.

“Now, that's not going to kill the tree, but it may disfigure it and may somewhat ruin its aesthetic appeal,” Cloyd said. “There's nothing you can spray, nothing you can do. Basically prune it out, at that point.”

Cloyd says large trees, especially, shouldn't suffer any direct damage due to the cicadas.