Baltimore has been eagerly awaiting (or dreading) the arrival of the Brood X 17-year cicadas. I’m personally excited to experience this once-in-a-generation spectacle of swarms of red-eyed and singing bugs that allegedly taste good on pizza, but I hadn’t thought about what this might mean for the 40+ new trees we have planted around Seton Hill. In early April, neighbors sounded the alarm about the damage caused by female cicadas as they lay eggs in the tender branches of young trees. Following the advice of the UMD extension, we started wrapping some of the trees in leftover, and sometimes bedazzled, tulle. We won’t be able to wrap all of the trees, so the scientist in me wants to make it an experiment of sorts.
After a long wait, the cicadas are just starting to emerge. St Mary’s Park is filled with little holes where the cicadas have emerged from their tunnels. The adults are now climbing trees, walls, and fences and shedding their exoskeloton for the last journey of their lives