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Residents find hundreds of Cicada exoskeletons on trees

Residents find hundreds of Cicada exoskeletons on trees

Chances are you’ve probably heard that constant buzzing sound coming from the trees in your neighborhood in the recent weeks. That summertime sound is caused by Cicadas. 

“It’s kind of annoying sometimes...especially when we are working outside,” said Bertha Boyer, a Cathedral City resident. 

One Palm Desert resident, Cynthia Ratto, shared photos on Facebook of a tree in her mother's backyard covered with Cicada exoskeletons. “I was so surprised at how many people responded. A couple people said their cats and dogs were munching away on exoskeletons,” she said.  

Some were expressing concern on the thread, wondering if the insects are harmful. "A lot of people are worried that they’re going to kill the trees and they don’t,” said Ratto.  

The good news is that apart from the buzzing, which is actually the male Cicada’s mating call, these creatures are totally harmless. 

“There’s no reason to be concerned this is a normal thing. The Cicadas that we have in the desert are annual Cicadas,” said Kurt Leuschner, an entomology professor at College of the Desert.

Cicadas actually live the majority of their lifespan underground, emerging in July and August when it’s most humid. They prefer to latch on to a rough surface, such as tree bark or stucco, before they shed their outer skeletons. Despite the noise, Cicadas play an important role in our desert ecosystem. “They provide a lot of food to birds and other larger predators so they’re an important part of the food chain,” said Professor Leuschner.  

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