Is this a Cicada? Good or bad bug?
Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 9:49 PM
Thank you! Enjoying this bug site very much! We just started a veggie garden in a de-commissioned Christmas Tree farm… pulled out the trees in Jan. and had a large tractor pull stumps, then rip the roots out. We tilled, amended, limed and cover cropped the soil, and now there are pencil sized holes EVERYWHERE! This creature emerged from one hole this week, seemed damaged and dazed… lived in a jar for 2 days while I tried to identify it! Cicada?? Yesterday hubby found ANOTHER in his truck grill. There are shells (of the nymph?) on soil surface, too. Really want to know if this is a good or bad bug! The kids and I have so much fun taking time to ID all the critters we find! Thanks for the help! – Sonia R.
Sonia, Reagan Acres Farm
This is indeed a Cicada. We believe it is in the genus Okanagana, possibly Okanagana bella which can be viewed on BugGuide. We will check with Eric Eaton to see if he is in agreement with our identification. Cicadas are plant feeders. The nymphs live underground and feed off of the sap in the roots of plants. BugGuide indicates: “Despite their numbers and large size, cicadas do little damage to crops or trees.” We suspect that the large number of Cicadas on your farm were feeding from the roots of the Christmas trees.
Update from Eric Eaton
Sat, 20 Jun 2009 17:12:31 -0700 (PDT)
Yes, it is indeed a species of Okanagana, which is by far the most common genus found up there).
Sat, Jun 20, 2009 at 9:32 PM
Thank you! I read about this bugger… not supposed to be found in our area though? What could that mean… the neighbors (for that matter, the whole local valley here) for years have had unexplained Christmas tree “flagging” and death… a possible cause? Also, isn’t this a “periodical” that shouldn’t have emerged yet? By the way, many more “emerged today” and they were caught in garden in the act of “coming out of the ground” (are the big holes we found their “in” or “out” holes?) and emerging from their larval shells. We notice that they start out light, bright green and soon turn darker as they dry their wings. Where have they gone now that they have emerged? Thank you again and I so enjoy the site and your good information.
Eric Eaton has confirmed our identification and has indicated that Okanagana is the most common genus of Cicada found in Oregon. The Periodical Cicadas in the genus Magicicada are not found in your area. Most Cicadas are annual, living underground as nymphs for about three years, and then emerging. Cicadas not of the periodical type emerge as adults in the same location each year. There is no “inhole” so to speak. When the Cicada eggs hatch, the newly hatched nymphs burrow, but they are so small, they do not make noticeable holes. The holes you have found are the emergence holes. Many insects darken after metamorphosis when their exoskeletons harden. We do not believe the tree die-off is in any way related to the Cicadas. After emergence, Cicadas seek out a mate and reproduce. Eastern Annual Cicadas, known as Dogday Harvestflies, are more often heard than seen. The mating call can be very loud and is most often heard in the latter half of the summer.