The Brood X cicadas aren’t flying around anymore, but take a closer look and there are still signs of their emergence lingering.
Before they died, female cicadas laid their eggs within tree branches. This is a process called tree-flagging, where the eggs in the branches turn clusters of leaves brown. With all the rain in the Tri-State this summer, branches with these clusters may break more easily, as well.
Dr. Gene Kritsky, dean of behavioral and natural science at Mount St. Joseph University, said there is a silver lining to this eyesore.
"Whenever you go in and prune those excess branches, the tree responds by actually producing more lush growth the following year,” Kritsky said. “While the trees look a little ugly this year, they should look spectacular next year."
Kritsky said he’s seen a lot of this tree-flagging on the west side in Delhi, Westwood and Finneytown, and on the east side in Indian Hill. Tree-flagging is most prevalent in oak trees and doesn’t hurt them in the long run; it's actually a natural pruning process, he said.
One more tip from Dr. Kritsky: Don’t sit under an oak tree that has evidence of these brown clusters. The oak itch mite feeds on cicada eggs and can bite.