Mid-State residents ask what to expect in cicada invasion

Mid-State residents ask what to expect in cicada invasion (Image 1)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As more and more cicadas begin to emerge across from the ground across the Mid-State, more and more residents are questioning what effect the insects might have.

Dr. Steven Murphree is an entomologist and professor at Belmont University.

Tuesday, Nashville's News 2 asked him questions Mid-State residents have as the pesky insects make their return for the first time in more than a decade.

Many residents said they are concerned what effect the noisy creatures will have on their gardens and plants.

According to Dr. Murphree, the effect will be minimal.

“They don't really damage anything.  They will occasionally use their mouth part to suck a little fluid out of new growth of trees just for some extra fluids,” he explained.

While some Tennesseans are concerned about their lawn and gardens, others are curious to know if cicadas can be eaten.

“People could eat [the cicadas]. There are actually recipes for them. They tell me the best kind if you eat one raw at night when they are first emerging.  They supposedly taste like avocados,” Dr. Murphree said.

While the noisy creatures are sure to be aggravating in coming weeks, he said it's best to tolerate them.

“There is really no good way to eliminate them,” Dr. Murphree said.  “I would not advocate using pesticides or anything.”

He continued, “If you have a tree that is a new tree, just set out in your landscape area, you can wrap it with tobacco cloth to keep the females from laying eggs on the branches.”

Murphree warned that cicadas are attracted to loud noises, such as lawn mowers, and emerge from the ground every 13 years as their means of reproduction.

“Of course most insects only live for a few weeks, but these insects live for 13 years underground and they emerge roughly together with the soul purpose of courtship and mating to reproduce the species,” he said.

Cicadas only live above ground for about a month and are expected to be gone by the middle of June.

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