‘Cicada-Geddon’ May Wreak Havoc on Commercial Buildings

Trillions of cicadas are expected to swarm the outdoors in parts of the country this spring and summer, buzzing to loud pitches, flying in masses and blanketing yards and sidewalks with their discarded exoskeletons. But many commercial real estate practitioners regard cicadas as more than a community nuisance.

Swarming cicadas can clog gutters, ducts and pumps, and even cause HVAC systems to shut down in the warmest part of the year. Back in 2007, a cicada infestation was blamed for stopping up an HVAC system at the largest office tower in Illinois outside of Chicago, leading to costly damage and a monthlong cleanup, Bisnow Media reports. To avoid another cicada-induced catastrophe, the tower’s owners have spent $10,000 on metal screen protectors to shield the building’s chiller system.

For the first time in more than two centuries, two broods of periodic cicadas are slated to emerge from the ground at the same time. The event has been dubbed the “Cicada-Geddon of 2024.” Sixteen states in the South and Midwest regions are supposed to contend with the cicadas from the end of May until sometime in July. Pest experts recommend that building owners take the following precautions:

  • Watch HVAC units: Keep cicadas out of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, which are particularly vulnerable to their sizable swarms. Cicadas can block airflow by landing on condenser coils and swarming fan motors and compressors. They can also shed their shells in shorter buildings’ gutters, resulting in clogs and back-ups.
  • Limit the noise: Inform building tenants to keep windows and doors shut to block out the bugs. Their buzzing can reach levels of up to 100 decibels, and at times, they sound like a commercial jet aircraft engine.
  • Block entry points: Check commercial buildings for any holes where cicadas could squeeze through. Make sure screens are on windows as an added layer of protection.
  • Protect young landscapes: Female cicadas lay their eggs in slits in small trees, which could lead to damage to the twigs and branches. Cover unhealthy and young trees, which are the most susceptible to cicada damage, with a mesh covering for added protection.
  • Make it darker: Cicadas often are drawn to bright lighting, so keep the building’s premises darker to help prevent swarms.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top