Subject: Unusual cicada??
Geographic location of the bug: Vienna, Virginia
Time: 04:39 PM EDT
My horticulture friend sent me this photo of cicada like insects on a birch tree in September in northern VA, but the wings do not look cicada like and I have never seen “horns” on cicadas. They look positively creepy!
Can you help us identify?
How you want your letter signed: Stumped gardener
Dear Stumped Gardener,
Is your friend certain these Treehopper nymphs were on a birch tree? They are Oak Treehopper nymphs, Platycotis vittata, based on this BugGuide image, and according to BugGuide, the habitat is: “Forests and forest edges, parks, and anywhere Oak trees are found. Occasionally found on other trees, but these individuals were probably just resting on those non-Oak trees.” Since nymphs cannot fly, they were likely feeding on the plant upon which they were found. Treehoppers and Cicadas are both in the same superfamily, hence the resemblance.