CINCINNATI — We are just hours away from tens of millions of cicadas taking over our trees, lawns and gardens. Are there any products that could keep them away or at least reduce their numbers?
We wanted to find out, so we visited Benken Florist and Greenhouse during the calm before the storm.
Margarite Letcher was making a few last purchases before the invasion. She is not looking forward to cicadas.
"I'm staying home," she said.
Beth McDonald was wondering if it's worth trying to protect her landscaping, as her neighbors have done.
"They put netting over their trees out front," she said.
But does it work?
"I don't know. We'll find out soon," she said.
Which products might be worth buying, and which are a waste of money?
Products you can skip
Nursery owner Mike Benken's first tip is to skip the bug spray. It will harm you more than them.
And forget about spreading grub killer, which some homeowners have done in recent weeks.
Cicadas are too big for lawn grub killer to have any effect, and besides, cicadas are not grubs anymore.
"Once that guy flies out, there is not a thing you can do about it," Benken said.
However, he said, you may want to protect young ornamental trees, because cicadas laying eggs in branches could kill the new growth.
Products that may help
He suggests draping small, new trees with mosquito netting, cheesecloth or wedding fabric, if mosquito netting is sold out near you.
"You want to make sure the tree is completely covered," he said. "You can pull it a little tight; it won't hurt it."
If you are really concerned about cicadas damaging a young tree, Benken said, the easiest thing is to wrap the lower trunk with something slippery so cicadas can't climb up it.
"You would wrap the tree trunk, because it's smooth and he can't hold onto that," he said.
Benken used clear plastic shipping tape, but he said aluminum foil can work, too.
Finally, Benken said, don't worry about your shrubs and flowers. Cicadas don't eat them.
But what if you are afraid to even go outdoors for a month?
We reported on one woman's invention earlier this week, combining an umbrella with shower curtain to keep cicadas off you.
Or check out Bass Pro Shop, Walmart.com, and Amazon, all of which sell a full mosquito-blocking suit you can wear for just $29.
You will look as goofy as Rick Moranis in "Ghostbusters," but you won't have to worry about cicadas in your hair.
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