City of Alexandria Response to Cicada Emergence

Page archived as of July 30, 2021

City of Alexandria Response to Cicada Emergence

For Immediate Release: May 14, 2021

The City of Alexandria will experience the 17-year cycle of the emergence of millions of the Brood X Cicadas from underground to mate and lay eggs in trees throughout the City now through mid-summer. The egg laying will be concentrated on smaller diameter twigs and branches. Impacted trees will exhibit clusters of dead leaves and branches that droop and turn brown as their circulation is cut off by the implanted eggs.  

For most trees, this damage will be unsightly but superficial. The trees will shed their damaged portions and continue growing. Some trees, particularly young, newly established trees, may succumb to their injuries.  

The City is taking the following steps in response to the cicada emergence:  

  • Delay spring tree plantings to be planted alongside fall trees to avoid cicada damage. 
  • Water recently planted trees to improve their health and ability to cope with cicada damage.  

The City will not: 

  • Apply pesticides to deter cicadas as they are not considered effective. 
  • Install netting to protect trees. While effective, netting is not economical at the municipal scale. Individual property owners should still consider netting as a potential protective measure for small or newly established trees.  

For additional information, visit the City’s Urban Forestry Management website or contact Bob Williams, Division Chief, Park Operations and Natural Lands Management, at

# # #

This release is available at