In July and August, annual cicada nymphs claw out of the ground, climb trees or other objects, and molt to become winged adults. Their shed skins remain behind, while the adults sing, mate, and produce the next generation.
Commonly heard but less often seen, these bugs look like larger and greener versions of the famous periodical cicadas. Annual cicadas go through a life cycle of only about 2–5 years, and some are present every year—thus they are called annual.
This tree displays branch flagging, which can have many causes. In this case, female periodical cicadas cut the tree's twigs with their ovipositors in the process of laying their eggs. The small cuts weakened the twigs, which turned brown, then broke during strong winds.
The cicada killer might be the scariest-looking wasp in our state. It is, however, not aggressive toward people and is virtually harmless, unless handled roughly. As in all ground-nesting wasps, an active nest can usually be recognized by the mound of earth excavated by the female with her mandibles and legs.
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