Are Cicadas Harmful?

Annual Cicadas in general are not harmful. Due to their relatively small numbers that are spread over a wide area they do no noticeable damage to flora. While they do have a rigid mouth part known as a beak, it is in the shape of a stylus and is used for withdrawing Xylem from trees or other plants. The fluids obtained are believed to be used to help the process of evaporative cooling on hot summer days. The amount of fluid obtained from a tree by a Cicada has no noticeable affects on trees or other plants. Annual Cicadas are actually beneficial as they are often preyed upon by birds, spiders, snakes and other fauna.

With regards to Periodical Cicadas it has been speculated that due to their massive concentrations there may be "stresses" put on their host plants. One way is from oviposition damaging small twigs on a plant or tree resulting in altered branch architecture, reduced growth and fruit crop loss.

Another may be caused by Periodical Cicada nymphs in their juvenile stage when feeding on Xylem, resulting in reduced wood growth and flowering of shrubs and trees.

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