Cicadas and 2021 weddings: Here’s what professionals say can be done

As more reports document the rise of cicadas in the U.S., some couples might be concerned if they originally planned an outdoor wedding.

Luckily cicadas do not carry diseases. Nor do these insects bite or sting, according to various pest control resources. 

However, Mosquito Joe, Inc.’s Entomologist and Technical Director David Price tells FOX Business that cicadas serve as a source of food for birds and other mammals that cross paths with humans, which have the potential to carry disease instead.

“In past years when cicadas have had their mass emergence, the North American Breeding Bird Surveys found that there was a 63% increase in the bird population of those monitored,” Price wrote in an email to FOX Business. “Birds carry many diseases, but one that can impact humans is the West Nile virus. And with more birds, there is a greater chance for the spread of the virus from birds to mosquitos. And while humans can’t contract West Nile from birds, they can get it from mosquitoes.”

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As more reports document the rise of cicadas in the U.S., some couples might be concerned if they originally planned an outdoor summer wedding. (iStock)

While the complex food chain may ring alarm bells for wedding planners, venues and vendors who are extra cautious of public health in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Price noted that there are some actionable steps people can take to try and limit guest interactions with cicadas.

Three things that can be done ahead of an outdoor event include applying a temporary insecticide on tree canopies at least one day before a wedding, creating physical barriers with landscaping nets or sticky taps to capture bugs and keeping lawn maintenance. 

“Insecticides do not offer a long-term solution and instead spray them off with a water hose,” Price explains. “Ensure your lawn is well manicured and that bare spots under trees are filled in with sod, seed or hay to prevent the nymphs from burrowing into the ground and emerging later.”

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Although couples may want their wedding to be cicada-free, Price notes that the few methods that are available are not foolproof.  

“As cicadas emerge from the ground near trees, there is little that can be done in terms of prevention,” he warns.

Trillions of cicadas are expected to emerge this summer, according to an estimate University of Maryland’s Professor Emeritus Michael Raupp told Fox News in March. 

Experts believe believe trillions of cicadas will emerge this summer in states that aren’t far from the Atlantic. (iStock)

Roughly 15 states will see the emergence of Brood X cicadas, according to a map that was put together by researchers at the University of Connecticut

The states that are likely to be effected include Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. 

With less than two weeks left until the official start of summer, it’s not immediately clear whether some states will get hit harder than others. As of Tuesday evening, there are rather large clusters in the Washington metropolitan area and the Illinois-Indiana-Kentucky tristate area, according to the UC’s map. Small clusters are also beginning to form in parts of North Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama.

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Further up north, cicadas aren’t as prevalent as of yet. For example, up in Michigan, cicadas are starting to emerge but they aren’t presenting a problem for wedding vendors.

Eric Neimur, the director of marketing at the Fox Hills Golf and Banquet Center in Plymouth, Mich. tells FOX Business that cicadas haven’t been an issue in the 30 years he’s worked in the weddings and event space.

“We’ve seen a few [cicadas] out there, but at this point we’re not planning on doing anything as far as a major plan ahead. We’re more concerned about some of our new tree plantings and stuff like that,” Neimur shared. “That’s really the only concern we have for delicate plants.”

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While Fox Hills Banquet Hall is keeping an eye to monitor the situation, Neimur says the venue has received more inquiries from brides and grooms about ticks rather than cicadas, which are insects that can transmit diseases to humans according to the CDC.

For brides and grooms who are worried about cicadas, however, a new report from WeddingWire says couples can notify their guests in advance about the bugs, check for indoor venue options as a backup or rent windowed tents if you’re adamant about staying outside.

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The wedding planning resource also recommends couples to check the sound systems their event venue or DJ will use are loud enough since large cicada swarms are known to be noisy.

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