April 15, 2013
Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
The sounds of summer might be even louder this year, as the 17-year hibernation-cycle of cicadas comes to an end and the insects wake up and take to the skies once again. Brad Bergefurd, extension educator with The Ohio State University Extension Offices in Pike and Scioto counties, reminds people that cicadas are mostly harmless and are not expected to cause much damage to local plants or trees.
“We have cicadas every year, but this will be a larger number. We’ll definitely hear them and we’ll definitely see them. We’re never really quite sure what they’re going to have a hankering for,” Bergefurd said. “Usually the injury we do experience with these larger hatches is just some minor defoliation of mainly tree species. They may get onto some shrubbery and so forth, but they really haven’t caused too much economic damage in the past.”
He said that during his 23 years with the extension office, he has never seen any serious damage caused by cicadas.
The loud, flying insects are expected to arrive in late-June and peak toward the end of July, with populations slowly tapering off again in August. Bergefurd said the season will be determined mostly by the heat, which has been normal so far this year.
“If it would have been last year, everything would have been kicked-up about a month because our heat units were about a month ahead of schedule last year. But right now we’re running about normal,” he said.
There isn’t really anything you can do to repel cicadas, Bergefurd said. But the good news is that they don’t bite or sting and they aren’t poisonous. In normal population levels their chirping is a seasonal, sometimes even relaxing, sound, but in large numbers that sound could become a nuisance in some areas.
“They’ll be crawling around and people will get freaked out,” he said. “Even if one would land on you, or if you happen to step on it, it will squawk or make a noise. It’s more of a scare thing than it is a damaging or hurting thing.”
He said the only thing you can do is learn to live with them for a few months.
“Their shells will be on the ground and they will be walking around and flying around and buzzing and making all the loud noises, we’ll just learn to live with them and throw a cicada party,” he laughed.
In some countries the cicada is a delicacy, often skewered or deep-fried.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.