Local Blueberry Patch Decimated by Cicatas

Just over one year ago the state was infested with cicadas

They weren't here for long, but did some lasting damage.

The cicadas come up every seventeen years in Virginia, so we can plan for them. Blueberries can be very vulnerable to the bug and now that it's summer, we can see that the damage has been done.

For about a month every June Kent Davis has his berry patch picked for blueberries and raspberries. This year's been a quiet one, because of the cicada.

The cicadas, specifically brood number two, ran through Virginia last year in May and June. They lay their eggs in pencil like twigs, making blueberry plants extra vulnerable.

"The buds form at the end of the branches, and then the buds are what blossoms in the spring. The blossoms turn into berries in the summer. So once they've killed the branch, then the buds can’t form, and there are no blossoms and berries the following year. This is the following year; the cicadas were here last year," states Davis.

We don’t see much damage to apple trees, because the apples grow on the thick part of the tree. Not much damage for strawberries either, but oak trees rely on their new growth, and the cicadas took advantage of them too.

It's not just the blueberries that are affected by the cicadas. Acorns are very few and far between because of the cicadas and because of that we're starting to see more bears that have to journey down from the mountain to find more food.

We haven't seen too many squirrels around here either. We'll have to pass on blueberries and raspberries for now, but there is hope for the future.

The cicadas may have destroyed the crop this year but next year should be fine. The plants still have plenty of new growth.

The berry patch will only be open until Saturday, with limited picking.


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