Floods Keep Cicadas Underground

By: Amelia Nahmias Email
By: Amelia Nahmias Email
After the never ending winter and a so far stormy spring, you won

James Appleby / AP

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY -- After the never ending winter and a so far stormy spring, you won't imagine what else Mother Nature has in store for us; cicadas! After a 17 year absence, these bugs are making an appearance in the Valley.

Cicadas are popping up all over Virginia and even here in the Valley. They are emerging after nearly two decades underground.

These bugs tend to attack branches that are about a pencil width thick. That could be newly planted plants or vines, but, this week's rain, may bide us some time.

Matthew Yancy is a crop and soil specialist. He said the recent flooding could potentially cut off oxygen to the bug. The real reason the bugs aren't a problem right now is soil moisture keeps the temperature down.

"Soil temperature needs to be 64 or higher. It's been hovering around 60 degrees. It did dip down even lower with that recent cold front and flooding," said Yancy.

The recent rain and flood kept the soil cool and delayed the emergence of the cicadas. They may not bite or sting, but they are loud and lay eggs in small branches and vines, killing the plants.

"If it's a vineyard planting from this year, or even last year, there's potential that they could do some pretty serious damage."

Yancy said once the cicadas emerge, they will be around for two to six weeks, but the average time is about a month.

Cicadas are already showing up along the East Coast and Piedmont from North Carolina to New York. Page and Eastern Rockingham counties are expected to see the most in the Valley.

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