DDN: Wright State biological sciences prof. says 17-year cicadas to emerge in OH this summer


Don Cipollini, professor of biological sciences and director of the Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program

This is the year of the cicadas in southwest Ohio.

Brood X is scheduled to emerge to mate and lay eggs in southwest Ohio, impacting the Dayton area, in May and June said Don Cipollini, a professor of biological sciences at Wright State University. A brood is a large population of cicadas that emerges around the same time.

Other broods have emerged at other times around Ohio. The last time Brood X emerged was 2004. Brood X will also emerge in parts of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia and North Carolina. These black cicadas with red eyes are different from the annual cicadas that emerge in late summer that are green with yellow eyes.

“They’re really a kind of a wild spectacle of nature,” Cipollini said.

There are so many of them as a species survival strategy, he said. These insects are clunky fliers and easy prey. But if billions of them show up, even if millions get eaten, there are still plenty of cicadas left over to mate and lay eggs again.

But the amount of cicadas also means their singing can be loud.

“If you’re close to a wooded area, when they’re really singing and coordinating, it’s deafening,” Cipollini said.

The insects will lay their eggs on twigs or thin branches on trees, he said, so it helps to put fine mesh netting around very young or very small trees if you are worried that the tree would be impacted. Small fruit trees, for example, might get hurt by the impact.

Not all cicadas will lay eggs in fruit trees, though. When the eggs are laid in some trees, the small twigs or branches may end up falling, but the tree will be fine.

“It’s just like they’re pruning the tree,” Cipollini said.

Until they emerge from the ground, the cicadas are in a larvae stage underground, Cipollini said. They eat fluids that run through the vascular system of primarily trees, he said, and emerge from the ground to mate, lay eggs and die.

He said he doesn’t recommend spraying around the time cicadas are there, because they are harmless and will leave quickly. He said they eat some plants, but don’t usually destroy them.

“Just tolerate them for a month,” Cipollini said. “They’ll be gone and you don’t have to see them for another 17 years.”

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