Gardening: Cicadas next year

Asked September 28, 2020, 10:18 AM EDT

Hi - Will next year's cicadas lay eggs in dead trees? I have a dead cherry tree (small ornamental) that I was going to remove this fall. I'm wondering if I can leave it up as a sacrificial tree for next year's brood to help protect my other trees. Thanks!

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

We have investigated this in literature on periodical cicadas but haven't found that they will use dead wood to lay eggs in. It likely is unsuitable as an egg-laying site as the lack of moisture may desiccate the eggs before they finish development or the drying of the wood (and thus cracking and splitting) may endanger the safety of the eggs as well. Cicadas prefer and seem to only use live wood for egg-laying, so you can remove your dead cherry any time.