Cicadas beginning to emerge in central Ohio

(Courtesy viewer Stacia Johnson)

COLUMBUS (WCMH)—Get ready to feel the noise.

Something we hear infrequently—one of several 17-year cicada populations that periodically appear in central Ohio, emerging from tunnels more than 6 inches below the ground.

Brood V is starting to show up in eastern Ohio, northern West Virginia,  far western corners of New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia as the soil temperature is warming  past 64 degrees. And they will be loud.

Dr. David Shetlar, an Ohio State University entomologist, said, “We call it chorusing. It’s one of the strategies they have in order to discourage the birds and other animals.” This is the time when females lay their eggs during a three-week noise fest, and then it’s all over.

The absence of predators that are scared away by the noise allows the cicadas to prosper during their short time above ground. Consider the black and red-eyed insects a nuisance when they fill climb trees and then fall back into the grass, but they are otherwise harmless.

You may recall the incessant din back in early June 2004 that punctuated the Memorial Tournament, when another brood came out of the ground during the mating cycle. We won’t hear from that group again until 2021.

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