Plain Gardening: Cicadas


It’s cicada season on the Gulf Coast. You’ll hear them everywhere and occasionally find the shell, or husk, of cicadas that have molted.

Gardening expert Bill Finch says even though some folks call cicadas by the name locusts, they’re not like the biblical plague. In fact, they’ll do little to harm your garden. Cicadas live most of their life below ground in a grub-like state, eating organic matter and acting very much like earthworms. When they emerge above ground, they’re only thinking about mating; that’s why they constantly make noise. Bill says the noise that is the background of summer is just the cicadas saying, “I love you.” (To other cicadas, we presume.)

Some cicadas come out only once every 17 years, some come out every nine years, but Bill says our Gulf Coast cicadas come out every year.

Even though the husks are brown and kind of scary-looking, Bill says the actual cicadas that emerge are a beautiful green and yellow.

Learn more about cicadas by calling Bill’s radio show Sunday mornings from 9-11 on 106.5FM or email

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