A cicada

Will Canada See the Cicada Swarm This Summer?

Entomologists in the United States are expecting two large broods of cicadas, which emerge every 17 and 13 years, to co-emerge from the ground this year. There have already been sightings in many parts of the country. Will Canadians also have a chance to witness this rare phenomenon this summer? Are cicadas in Canada?

What’s With the Buzz?

News about hordes of cicadas emerging from the ground has been making a buzz in the news. If you’re not an insect enthusiast, you may be puzzled by the excitement over a swarm of bugs. You may wonder why the search “cicadas 2024 Canada” has skyrocketed in popularity given that the stories are mostly about the trillions of wide-eyed critters coming out of the ground this year.

The excitement has something to do with the double emergence.

There are thousands of species of cicadas around the world, but Canada is home to only 21 of them. Cicadas can be classified as annual or periodical. The cicadas in Canada are mostly annual.

Annual cicadas, as the name implies, emerge every year in summer and have a short lifespan before they vanish again. On the other hand, periodical cicadas have an incredibly lengthy lifespan. They spend most of their lives underground and emerge to mature into adults and mate every 13 or 17 years, depending on the species.

The two cicada species creating a buzz are the periodical ones: the broods XIX and XIII. Broods refer to a periodic cicada with the same life cycle type that comes out of the ground in a given year. Brood XIII is among the densest, and brood XIX is the largest. When periodical cicadas emerge from the soil, they typically come in large numbers.

These two species have different life cycles, and it’s not common for these broods of different cycles to emerge together in the same year. In fact, it only happens once every 221 years. The last time the world witnessed the phenomenon was in 1803, and it isn’t likely to occur again until 2245. That makes it rarer than a solar eclipse.

This also means you won’t get another chance to witness the same phenomenon in your lifetime, and that’s why broods XIX and XIII emerging from the ground and blanketing the sky are such a big deal for many.

Will You See the Rare Phenomenon in Canada?

Unfortunately, you will not see the swarm of periodical cicadas in Canada.

Brood XIII is concentrated in northern Illinois, while Brood XIX will emerge in the southeast United States. People in multiple states across the Southeast have already spotted adult periodical cicadas from Brood XIX.

These broods cannot be seen in Canada because the country is only home to annual cicadas. So, if you are wondering if there are cicadas in Canada, it’s not impossible to encounter some (just not at the levels other parts of North America are experiencing). Most of them can be found in temperate areas in the country’s southern portion. In the Northwest Territories, there’s only the Canadian cicada. This species has a dark body with yellow spots on its back. They thrive in limestone soils and enjoy conifers like white cedars.

Meanwhile, eastern Canada is home to the dog-day cicada, a brown and green critter that typically comes out of hiding in August through September. They are called the dog-day cicadas because they emerge from the ground during the dog days of summer.

Will There Be Cicadas in Canada This Year?

You may not be able to see an overwhelming periodical cicada swarm in Canada this year, but the annual cicadas will always be above the ground every summer.

Are Cicadas Dangerous?

Although cicadas are not the most appealing to look at, they are mostly harmless to humans. They live most of their lives underground. They do not bite or sting and are not poisonous. The worst that small annual cicadas can do to a person is startle them. But the larger, periodical cicadas can do a bit more damage, specifically to your ears. Male periodical cicadas’ singing can reach 90 to 95 decibels.

Periodical cicadas’ collective song can be loud enough to drown out a jet engine. Spend 20 minutes listening to a cicada brood singing, and it will likely feel like you’ve just gone to a rock concert. So, the two broods not reaching Canada can be a blessing in disguise. You won’t need to protect your ears.

If you notice Canadian annual cicadas, it’s probably best not to let your furry companion outdoors too often. Dogs eat cicadas. Gobbling some does not harm them, but you need to monitor your pet so they don’t feast on the bugs. Dogs that eat too many crunchy insects, especially the larger ones, may get upset stomachs, vomit, and develop other health issues because of the bugs’ exoskeletons, which are hard to digest.

How to Deal With Cicadas

Cicadas don’t live long and don’t cause serious harm aside from their bothersome noise. However, you can do a few things if you don’t want them hanging out in your backyard or singing courtship songs.

Cutting down small tree branches before their emergence can help limit the number of cicadas in your yard. Pruning your trees after cicadas have laid eggs will also help because the eggs will not hatch into nymphs that will burrow underground and repeat the cycle. Putting mesh netting around trees is another option for reducing the number of cicadas on your property.

Some recommend using chemical pesticides to eliminate cicadas, but this strategy isn’t recommended. It will also harm pollinators and kill beneficial insects. Furthermore, no pesticides are labeled for cicada control, so there’s no guarantee they will work.

Control Lawn Pests With LawnMart

Although cicadas are herbivorous insects, you don’t need to worry about them damaging your lawn during their emergence. Cicadas feed only on the sap of their host plants, mainly wild grasses and trees. Additionally, the number of emerging annual cicadas common in Canada is typically less than the millions and trillions of periodical cicadas. You should only expect extensive cicada damage during years of heavy emergence.

The adult cicadas that emerge will die, and their bodies will disintegrate on the ground, adding nutrients to the soil. Imagine how much of a nutritional boost they’ll provide your lawn if there are hundreds or thousands of them! So, while it is critical to rid your lawn of pests, cicadas are actually your friends. They are loud and can be a noisy nuisance, but they will benefit your lawn nonetheless.

LawnMart is also your lawn’s friend. If you think there’s a pest infestation other than cicadas, our team is just one call away. Please feel free to contact us for an estimate or to learn more.