After an almost two-month life span above ground, the Brood X cicadas are nearly completely gone, and the summer daytime sound are returning to normal. But these loud, funny looking creatures leave behind a ripple effect in many communities.
As the cicadas emerged, they provided much needed aeration near the trees where they have spent the last 17 years. During the breeding cycle, the cicadas marred twigs to lay eggs and will return to the Earth either in the form of decaying carcasses providing soil fertilizers or tree nutrient sapping nymphs.
Many animals feasted on the cicadas while they were alive. This includes birds, squirrels, caterpillars, perhaps an occasional dog, ants, and mice, just to name a few. With Brood X now nearly gone, these critters will be looking for new food sources.
Experts across several states warn of an increase in the rat and snake population as the Brood X food source is eliminated. Montgomery County, MD health officials reported spikes of rat complaints after the 2004 Brood X emergence and anticipate a similar spike in 2021.
Experts recommend residents use extra care to eliminate food sources post Brood X. This includes not feeding stray animals or wildlife, installing catch-trays under bird feeders, and keeping all human feed and pet food inside your home tightly sealed. Additionally, ensure all trash containers are tightly sealed and not placed curbside too early.
It may be necessary to perform a little house maintenance to help ensure these pests are not taking up residence in your home as well. Blocking all entry points, repairing any broken or torn screens or screen doors, cleaning countertops and floors regularly, eliminating water sources (such as a dripping faucet or pipe), reducing nesting locations and trimming back foundation plants will help make your home a little less attractive to pests.