At 01:33 PM 7/28/2004 -0400, Mark McDonough wrote: >I'm wondering in your garden, do the cicadas cause harm to herbaceous plants >and bulbs? No, Mark, the seventeen year cicadas (evidently there are at least three species involved) do no damage to herbaceous plants - they don't chew leaves or anything like that. But yes, that is cicada damage you saw. Although the cicada damage is pretty visible and thus dramatic, in fact it amounts to little more than tip pruning. Even low growing woody plants are typically ignored. They seem to prefer oaks and black locusts around here, but just about any non-coniferous woody plant will do. The damage they do is, on the whole, insignificant in the long run. But if you have carefully pruned or shaped ornamental woodies or young fruit trees, it's best to cover them during cicada season (it's over by now; the cicadas you may have heard during your trip would have been annual cicadas). The sites they choose on the twig for egg laying are permanently damaged - if you know where to look, you can still see traces of the grooves produced by the 1987 brood. I've seen four cicada broods in my lifetime, and with luck will see at least one more. The first, in 1953, totally grossed me out: back then the prevailing attitude was one degree of hysteria or another. In those days, such was the level of public education and sophistication, people went berserk spraying insecticides, crushing, killing and in general overreacting. I remember being terrified of them at first. But just think about the sort of movies being made back then (the various "invasion" and "creature" movies produced in an atmosphere of near mass hysteria over the way things might go in the then newly nuclear world) and maybe you'll realize that the public was unwittingly primed to react badly. I remember the air-raid drills we had back then - and this was about decade after the Second World War, right here in the land of the free and the home of terrified little kids cowering under their school desks. This year's brood came up into a somewhat kinder, gentler world: the media did a great job of getting people ready - sensibly - this time. No longer is the emergence of the cicadas a field day for control-nature-freaks and purveyors of toxins. People have learned to see the cicadas in perspective, to understand the true nature of the "damage" they do (for the most part, insignificant), and in fact to enjoy their brief stay above ground as just what it is: one of the earth's truly amazing wonders. Jim McKenney firstname.lastname@example.org Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where the seventeen-year cicadas are gone but have been replaced by the annual cicadas; you don't know one of summer's sweetest gifts if you have not dozed off to the choruses of the annual cicadas.