Protect your grapevines from cicadas – Facts for Fancy Fruit

Protect your grapevines from cicadas

The periodical cicada (Figure 1) emergence is expected to begin shortly. Female cicadas lay eggs in 200+ woody tree species (Figure 2), and they have a strong preference for grapevines, apples, cherries, peaches, & plums. Egg laying can weaken and damage branches, causing them to turn brown, die, and break off. The loss of branches could cause serious damage or even death to young trees & grapevines. Cicada nymphs have also been known to feed on roots, which may cause a reduction in vigor.

Figure 1. Periodical cicada. Photo: John Ghent,

Figure 2. Cutting/slitting egg laying damage caused by female periodical cicadas on grapevines. Photo: E. Y. Long

What can you do?

Young trees with branches and stems ranging in diameter from 3/16″ to 7/16″ are susceptible to cicada damage, and thus should be the main focus of protective efforts. Insect netting can be used to prevent females from accessing grapevines to deposit eggs (Figure 3). Netting should have no larger than 1/2-inch openings and should be fastened around the bottom of the trunk. The best time to do this is when male cicadas begin “singing” and before egg laying begins. Nets should be kept on 2 weeks past when “singing” stops, which is estimated to be around late July.

Chemical control is also an option, but it is only recommended for large, commercial vineyards where netting is not feasible. Chemical control is not as effective as netting because insecticides must be applied repeatedly against waves of cicadas over an ~1 month period whereas netting is only applied once to exclude egg-laying females. Further, chemical control is only recommended for reducing cicada injury to young vines because mature vines can typically tolerate egg laying damage. See link below for more information on chemical control.

Figure 3. Example of netting grapevines to exclude female periodical cicadas. Photo:


For more information:

Be prepared to protect your grapevines from 17-year periodical cicadas emerging in May | Purdue University, The Ohio State University

How can I get involved?

Purdue University Cicada Tracker- Citizen Science Project 

Indiana Cicada Fest Bioblitz


Please contact Miranda Purcell, Viticulture Extension Specialist, with any questions (

Share This Article
It is the policy of the Purdue University that all persons have equal opportunity and access to its educational programs, services, activities, and facilities without regard to race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, disability or status as a veteran. Purdue is an Affirmative Action Institution. This material may be available in alternative formats. 1-888-EXT-INFO Disclaimer: Reference to products in this publication is not intended to be an endorsement to the exclusion of others which may have similar uses. Any person using products listed in this publication assumes full responsibility for their use in accordance with current directions of the manufacturer.