The emergence of a brood of 13-year cicadas in western Kentucky could mean trouble for landscapers. Brood 19 spans from Muhlenberg to McCracken counties. University of Kentucky Extension Office Entomologist Doug Johnson says the bugs emerge from underground at the end of 13 years to mate and lay eggs.
“Now when they lay their eggs they seek out twigs that are about a quarter of an inch in diameter and they split the bark and they lay a very neat row of eggs in that bark,” said Johnson
Johnson says the damage may cost up to a years’ growth. He says when the eggs hatch, the nymphs feed on a tree’s roots. Johnson says a large tree can handle the energy drain, but saplings could suffer heavy damage. He recommends waiting until after the cicadas are gone in late June to plant new trees. Cicadas pose no threat to humans and animals.