I promise that this will be my last article about periodical cicadas. The next emergence of the brood that appears in Clark County will be in 2025, and I will surely be retired before then. There are, however, remaining issues left from the 2008 cicadas, and the extension service has been getting questions about cicada damaged trees.
Many trees and shrubs continue to show the scars from the egg-laying of cicadas. After mating, the female cicada slits the bark of a pencil-sized twig, and inserts fertilized eggs into the slit. In due time, the eggs hatch and the larvae fall to the ground, where they burrow in and develop for the next 17 years. The degree of twig damage varies greatly, depending on tree species, tree health, and growing conditions.
Many of the affected twigs died and fell off last year. Others broke off as a result of winter storms. Many trees and shrubs still have twigs that look like they have a zipper along one side. Other than cosmetic pruning or shaping of shrubs or small trees, there is nothing that can or should be done about the cicada damage at this time. Most of those remaining twigs will heal over and grow fairly normally, with a scar that may be visible for several years.