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Home / Tips and Tricks / Billions of crickets are coming. Here’s how to keep Brood X out of your garden

Billions of crickets are coming. Here’s how to keep Brood X out of your garden



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Brood X crickets will be here soon.

Gene Kritsky / Mount St. Joseph University

When you hear the buzzing sounds, you know they are coming. This spring, the Bread X crickets will emerge after being underground for 17 years. These insects hatch in the billions for a six-week lifespan – sometimes landing in your home – and have the potential to wreak havoc on your yard, especially smaller, young trees.

If insects give you the creeps, or you have new, expensive trees that you’ve just planted, you may be wondering how to keep the crickets away. While you only have a limited amount of time left before Brood X arrives, there are several preventative measures you can take to keep them off your small trees. And if they are there, we have ways to get rid of them.

Keep reading to find out what to do to keep the periodic crickets out of your trees this spring. We’ll also tell you which chemicals or oils not to use – and why you might even be maimed and let Brood X hang out. (Plus, here’s what happens when your pet eats a cicada

Benefits of having Brood X crickets nest in your mature trees

While Brood X crickets are large (an inch or two in length) and can be annoying, according to entomologists we spoke to, there are some ecological benefits of letting them do their thing uninterrupted. Once crickets die, they disintegrate into the soil, which can benefit your trees and surrounding plants the following year by enriching the soil, Gene Kritsky, Dean of the School of Behavioral and Natural Sciences at Mount St. Joseph University, at CNET.

Plus, the holes newly hatched crickets dig in the ground can help water the trees at a deeper level, as it’s tantamount to aerating your yard, Kritsky added.

When the adults come back in large quantities, they provide an additional food source for animals such as birds, opossums, raccoons and even pets

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Cicadas are large insects with distinct wings and bulbous alien eyes.

Screenshot by Bonnie Burton / CNET

Wrap your trees that are small and younger

When female crickets emerge, they look for areas to lay their eggs – usually towards the edge where new leaves are located. They will then pierce the branches and lay their eggs in them. They lay between 10 and 20 eggs per quarter inch – they lay about 500 in total, Kritsky said, which can cause leaves to wither and turn brown and even break.

If you have trees that you don’t want to be damaged, wrap them loosely as a precaution. You can use cheesecloths, foil tape, barrier tape, or masking tape. You have to wrap around the tree trunk and where the twigs meet the branch, said Frank Meek, an entomologist and technical services manager at pest controller Orkin. This will help keep the female crickets from laying eggs in your trees.

You can also use landscape nets around smaller trees to keep the crickets from landing on the branches. You may want to delay planting trees until they are gone, which could be June 20 or even later.

Will crickets hurt bigger trees?

Cicadas cannot do much damage to your larger, mature trees. In fact, the older the tree is, the less damage it can do, Meek said. Instead, it’s more like the crickets pruning your trees, which can stimulate tree growth.

What if crickets already nest in your trees?

If crickets have already popped up in your yard, there are several ways to get rid of them.

  • Spray them off your trees and plants with a water hose.
  • Use your hands to remove them (I know, it sounds gross).
  • Place sticky traps on your trees – this will keep them from sliding further.
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Keep your little trees packed until the crickets are gone.

Patrick Holland / CNET

What not to use to get rid of Brood X crickets

If you’re trying to get rid of crickets, don’t use these items.

  • Pesticides: According to both Kritsky and Meek, this is neither advisable nor necessary, as pesticides have no effect on migratory populations such as the crickets.
  • Essential Oils: It would take loads of essential oils and a lot of maintenance to repel crickets.
  • Bleaching: Bleach can slow plant growth, kill plants and leach into the soil, causing longer-term damage.

How to keep crickets from coming back

When the eggs hatch in the trees, the baby crickets – also called nymphs – fall from the trees and burrow into the ground until it’s their time to get up. Meek says maintaining your yard properly without dirt stains can help keep them from digging in. You can fill in the bare spots with sod, seed, or hay to protect and cover the soil to reduce the chances of the crickets going back into the ground.

To learn more, here’s what you need to know Bread X Crickets and Pet SafetyThere is also one portable insect pod that protects you from crickets, if you’re worried they’ll land on your head.


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