Tomatoes and Cicadas

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by mygrayfarm, May 14, 2004.

  1. mygrayfarm

    mygrayfarm Well-Known Member

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    Hello, folks!

    I put tomato plants in yesterday. I put up those wire tomato cages and draped the whole shebang with two layers of bird netting (anchored with tent stakes). Is the netting enough to keep cicadas off the plants? They are emerging 20 miles south of here so I think this weekend will be my last chance to "cicada-proof" my little patch.

    Thanks for any advice you can give!

    Cindy

    PS - I planted Romas and Health Kick.
     
  2. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

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    Ummm, Cindy, are these the insects that come out about every 17 years or so? If so, I don't believe the adults eat anything. Their main goal in life is to reproduce. The larva is what eats, and usually once they hatch, they burrow down to tree roots to live their 16 + years munching on tree roots.

    I don't think you have to worry about your tomatoes.
     

  3. mygrayfarm

    mygrayfarm Well-Known Member

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    Yes, these are the Brood X. I guess what made me worry was seeing the farmers around here wrap their fruit trees.

    This is the Baltimore/Washington area so the evening news has been whipping up a frenzy and preparing us for nothing short of total defoliation. They are saying 1.5 million cicadas per acre -or some other such number - and I have five acres (one wooded) that have not been disturbed since the last brood. Thanks for setting my mind at ease - the media has the cicadas practically swooping down and carrying off small dogs.

    I think they're kinda neat-looking but I want to keep my 'maters!
     
  4. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

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    I called "Cicada" up on the internet. Yes, I was correct that the young larva of the cicada does all the eating. It did say that cicadas in large numbers can do some damage while laying eggs to young trees.
    I think the problem with the media is that some people call cicadas locusts. And you know what a plague of locusts can do! So your tomatoes will be safe from the cicadas at least!

    We had a big hatchout of cicadas 2 years ago. You found the empty shell of the adult (once it came out) on tree trunks, on houses, etc. I thought they were neat too!
     
  5. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We're down in Brood X country too and I remember the last invasion! You should cover any small trees you want to keep but everything else will be fine. The damage is to the tips of branches which die and fall off taking the newly hatched cicadas back to the ground where they burrow in and stay for the next 17 years.

    Have you seen any yet? These will be the red eyed kind, not our usual brown cicadas. My son found one yesterday (Charles Co.) but it is still a little early as yet.
     
  6. mygrayfarm

    mygrayfarm Well-Known Member

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    We're in Carroll County (Mount Airy) and I haven't seen or heard any yet. However, my family in Montgomery County has them in their yards now - not a lot but enough to notice. My sister's toddler has already eaten one.
     
  7. Bluecreekrog

    Bluecreekrog Well-Known Member

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    Little or no danger to plants, only trees.