Cicadas love power tools, here’s how to keep Brood X at a distance

Cicadas love power tools, here's how to keep Brood X at a distance

An adult periodical cicada.


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Cicada season brings a noisier great outdoors, extra yard work to protect your trees, and even some potential new garnishes at meals. All that’s more or less expected, but there’s another side effect of Brood X cicadas emerging from underground after 17 years you might not be ready for: swarms of amorous bugs obsessed with your power tools. 

It’s true. The loud, buzzing sound of your lawnmower, angle grinder or power drill are similar enough to the cicadas’ mating call that it can confuse the bugs, and send them crowding around construction workers or gardeners.

 Check it out: 

It might seem weird, but it makes a lot of sense. The cicada’s call is about as loud as a lawnmower, and sounds a lot like the high-pitched of the motors used in common power-tools. This leaves the poor bugs easily confused.

“Cicadas are attracted to vibrating machinery,” cicada enthusiast YouTuber Cicada Mania explains. “That could be a saw, a power drill, a lawnmower, anything that sort of vibrates mechanically, the cicadas think it’s a cicada, or a chorus of cicadas, so all the other cicadas are attracted to it.” 

If you’d rather not be swarmed with bugs getting busy while you’re trying to do yard work, you have a couple of options. Cicada Mania recommends planning your yard work around the brood’s schedule — rising early to use tools and noisy equipment in the dawn hours, when it’s colder and the bugs are less active. Cicadas also tend to spend their evenings up in the trees, making nighttime work a viable option as well. 

Of course, you could also just throw caution (and your dignity) to the wind and don a wearable, bug-proof WalkingPod Mesh, so long as you don’t mind looking like a walking laundry hamper.

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