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adult cicada laying on a houseplant

Do Cicadas Eat Houseplants? (Solved and Explained!)

Cicadas have a bad reputation because of their appearence and loud songs. Sometimes, these giant insects can even get into the house or garden and understanding the impact they can have on your houseplants is very important.

In this article, I will tell you exactly if cicadas will eat or harm your houseplants in any way.

Here’s if Cicadas Really Eat Houseplants:

No, it is very unlikely that cicadas will eat your houseplants. The adults do feed on plant sap, but do minimal damage, and will not stay in your house for long as cicadas can’t breed indoors. These insects are very rarely a problem for houseplants.

Can Cicadas Harm Houseplants?

It is not probable that a cicada will do damage to your houseplants, as these insects breed outdoors and rarely enter the home for any reason. They will not stay inside if they do end up inside, and they are easy to relocate; simply pick them up and put them back outside.

The only time that cicadas emerge from the ground is to mate, so they are not likely to be looking for houseplants to eat – they want to find other cicadas.

It’s no surprise if you find this large insect alarming, but it isn’t a danger to you or your plants.

In theory, cicada larvae could harm your houseplants, but this is pretty unlikely, as they would have to be in the plant’s soil. This is not a common occurrence in houseplants, as they are indoors, and cicadas are almost always outdoors.

Do Cicadas Lay Eggs In Houseplants?

It is very unlikely for a cicada to lay its leggs in your houseplants. Although it could also theoretically happen, the insect is outdoors when mating so it will always choose a tree or another outdoor plant instead.

The egg laying process is often the most destructive that an adult cicada gets – but even this process is not hugely harmful.

The female cuts a small, v-shaped slit into the stem and deposits her eggs into this slit. On the whole, this does minimal damage to the plant as long as it is healthy, although that stem may shrivel up as a result.

Again, there are low chances of this happening with a houseplant, but it is possible if a laying cicada has entered your home.

If that happens, they will go for indoor trees rather than smaller houseplants.

How Did Cicadas Enter Your Home?

A cicada will usually enter your home through an open door or window. Cicadas can fly well, so even upstairs windows may provide an entry point for them. Cracks under doors may also provide them with access.

However, they don’t actively try to enter homes.

If a cicada does get into your home, you can simply catch it and put it back outside. Because they aren’t a common household invader, there are no specific repellents or traps that you can use, but since there will only be a few inside at most, it isn’t usually any problem to remove them by hand.

Cicadas don’t bite, but they do have sharp mouthparts, so you might want to wear gloves before handling them if you are nervous.

If you don’t wish to touch the cicadas, you can trap them under a glass, slide a piece of paper under it, and release them back outside.

There is no reason to kill cicadas; they aren’t dangerous or particularly harmful to anything.

How To Get Rid Of Cicadas From Your Houseplants

If you do end up with cicadas on your houseplants, the simplest solution is usually to remove them manually. The adults can fly so you may have to catch them in a net, but nymphs can be picked up and put outside if you can see them.

You could use fly tape or another sticky tape to trap and kill the cicadas.

This is another option for getting rid of them, as they will get stuck to the traps and die. You can then dispose of the tape. However, this is more destructive than may be necessary, and relocation is a better option.

Another option is to take your houseplants outside and blast them with the hose. The powerful spray knocks the insects off and removes them from the plants.

You can also spray your houseplants with some diluted peppermint oil if you prefer.

This will deter cicadas (and other pests!) because they dislike the strong scent. Test the oil on a small part of your plant before trying this, in case your plant reacts negatively to it.

If you have cicada grubs in a houseplant pot, remove the plant from the pot and pick the grubs off by hand, and then repot the plant in fresh compost.

To sum it up, here are the options to to get rid of cicadas from your potted plants:

  • Manually remove them either by hand or with a net, as they are harmless.
  • Use sticky fly tape to trap them.
  • Take the plant outside and blast it with a hose, knocking the insects off.
  • Spray the plant with peppermint oil.
  • If you have grubs, manually remove them from the soil. They aren’t a major pest but repotting could be necessary.

What Part Of Your Houseplants Can Cicadas Eat?

Adult cicadas generally only eat the sap of plants, piercing the stem and sucking the sap out. Their grubs do eat the roots of plants, but are not considered a major pest, and rarely do extensive damage.

Do Cicadas Eat Houseplants’ Flowers?

Cicadas don’t eat flowers, and are not attracted to them. They are disinterested in this part of the plant and should completely ignore it. They may still land on plants that are in bloom, but they will not attack the flowers.

The cicadas will not eat the stems, leaves, or flowers of your plants, and generally don’t bother them much.

They can damage plants that are already sickly, however, so be aware of that and take efforts to protect any of your plants that might be stressed.

Houseplants Cicadas Hate

We don’t really know if there are any houseplants that actively keep cicadas away, and that’s because cicadas rarely come indoors or stay for long.

However, it is reasonable to guess that cicadas might dislike things like peppermint, as this strongly scent plant deters many insects.

Basil is also a good insect deterrent, again because of its strong smell. It is known to repel mosquitoes, aphids, hornworms, whiteflies, and flies. It’s possible that this plant could also deter cicadas.

You could also try pennyroyal, which is hated by mosquitoes, gnats, fleas, flies, and ants, and may also put cicadas off coming into your home.


All in all, you are highly unlikely to find cicadas in your home or on your houseplants. If you do, the insect has probably wandered in by mistake, and you can safely return it outside using a cup and sheet of paper.

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