RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The emergence of the 17-year cicada, as known as Brood II, caused widespread damage to oaks and other trees in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry.
“After mating, periodical cicada females lay eggs in the thin-barked outer branches of many different trees and shrubs by slicing into the plant tissue,” VDOF forest health specialist Dr. Chris Asaro said in a statement. “Within each sliced area, known as an egg nest, they deposit up to 20 eggs.
“When you consider how many millions of female cicadas were laying eggs over the past few weeks, there are literally billions of slices in the trees.”
Asaro said those cuts can kill tree limbs. He said most medium to large-sized trees will not suffer any serious long-term damage, however fruit trees and “nursery-sized” trees could feel an impact.
“Smaller trees generally have thin bark across much of their branch surface, so a much larger proportion of the tree is suitable for egg laying and damage by cicadas,” he said. “In some extreme cases, small trees may experience enough damage that the entire top is killed back, although many hardwood trees have well-developed root systems and can resprout new tops.”