Wait almost over: Cicadas to emerge soon

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 11:02 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - It has been a 17-year wait for the periodical cicadas to emerge and some people do not want to wait any longer.

The cold nights lately have kept the insects in the ground a little longer. Do not worry though, they will still come.

“They’re gonna come,” answers MSJU School of Behavioral and Natural Sciences Dean Dr. Gene Kritsky. “We’ve already had one adult sneak out of the ground in Florence, Kentucky, according to Cicada Safari entries.”

Kritsky says the cicadas are just a few days away from emerging in large numbers here in the Tri-State.

“They’re just biding their time being patient,” Kritsky says. “To me, it’s almost like Christmas. You wait for the day to come, and is it ever going to show up? It’s that anticipation.”

And if you are not as excited as Kritsky, there is some good news with Brood X this time around.

“Four years ago, in 2017, we had a four-year acceleration of Brood X, and tens of thousands of cicadas emerged early,” Kritsky explains. “So, for every cicada that came out in 2017, it’s one fewer for now.”

You have probably seen small holes, called chimneys, in the ground around your home. That’s the cicadas coming out of the ground last month after a big rain.

But they are still waiting for the soil temperature to reach 64 degrees or warmer and stay there.

According to FOX19 NOW First Alert Forecast, that should happen early next week. The soil is hovering in the mid to upper 50s right now.

Once they emerge, it takes about five days for the bugs to begin the singing sound and for the cicadas to mate. That will last for six weeks.

If you are wanting to spray an insecticide to kill the bugs, Kritsky says do not bother.

“It’s not advisable, it’s a waste of money,” Kritsky says. “They aren’t going to cause that much damage to our trees. They may look a little ugly, but it could lead to a lot bigger flower set next year because it’s like a natural pruning.”

If you have a small or young tree, you can protect that with a net to prevent the large bugs from bothering the new leaves.

You can expect these bugs to fly around aimlessly because of their size. That means they could hit your car, pet, and you. But remember, they do not bite or sting.

“They just sort of bumble around, they get picked up by birds in the air and eaten by all sorts of things,” says Kritsky. “But that’s part of the survival strategy to overwhelm predators to let them eat as many cicadas as they can. And there are still millions there to mate and lay eggs and reproduce.”

According to the Cicada Safari App, there have been several sightings in the Tri-State. There are thousands of pictures being uploaded to that app daily from 110,000 users.

Kritsky says this kind of citizen science is so helpful in getting the most accurate data to know more about cicadas.

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