May 3, 2021

The 2021 Complete Guide to Ohio Cicadas

Coming this spring and summer, cicadas will be emerging across Ohio after spending nearly two decades hibernating underground. Ohio is just one of 16 states that will get to experience this weird but fascinating phenomena. Here are a few answers to common questions our pest control experts get asked about cicadas. Learn what you can expect from the emergence of Brood X this year with this complete guide to cicadas. 

Which Ohio Counties Are Likely To See Cicadas?

You can expect to see the most cicada activity across these counties:

  • Defiance
  • Franklin
  • Greene
  • Hamilton 
  • Logan
  • Montgomery

While these are thought to be the cicada “hot spots”  this spring and summer, many other counties will likely see these critters out and about as they begin to emerge. 

Expect to find cicadas in places like parks, cemeteries, and other areas that are home to mature trees that the broods used as nesting grounds. As soil temperatures reach 64 degrees Fahrenheit, the cicadas around these locations will slowly exit their underground homes to molt and mate.

What do cicadas look like?

If you’re a young or new resident to Ohio you may not have yet seen a cicada before. Don’t worry, you won’t miss it! These bugs, which have been underground for the last 2 decades, are going to be hard to miss when they arise. 

Cicadas are large winged insects that measure approximately 1 1/2 inches in length. 

Why are cicadas so loud? 

Cicadas are most known (and hated) for the loud, obnoxious buzzing and rattling noises they produce. Once they arise from their underground naps the cicada nymphs start their songs and dances to fulfill their primary mission – finding a mate. 

The male insects are the ones that perform the mating calls to attract females. They go up into trees by the thousands (yes, thousands!) and make a very loud chorus of sound together. The louder they are, the more likely females will be attracted to the tree in which they reside versus going over to another tree where other males will be competing for female attention. 

These groups of male cicadas get so loud that they can reach up to 96 decibels. To put it into perspective, that’s louder than a jet plane flying in for landing! 

When female cicadas get close enough to the males, the song changes as the female and male cicadas begin to interact individually. The male cicada has a special song for the female he fancies that he will perform to try and entice her. If she likes him and decides he’s worth fathering her babies, she’ll flick her wings to give her consent and then they mate! 

Fun facts: 

  • Each species of cicada has a different song!
  • Some cicada calls can be heard up to 1 mile away! 

Are cicadas poisonous or dangerous?

Rest assured, cicadas are relatively harmless to people and pets. They don’t bite or sting and typically won’t try to enter your home to claim it as theirs. 

If you’re spooked by them or have a curious pet that won’t leave them alone, we advise installing seasonal window screens (if you don’t have them up already). If you do happen to find one of these insects in your home, you don’t need to worry. They’re harmless and can easily be relocated back outside without the worry that they’re going to infest your home. 

What if my cat or dog ate a cicada? Should I be concerned? 

If your furry friend gobbles up a stray cicada outside they’re likely going to be just fine. Cicadas are non-toxic to pets. However, it’s not recommended to have your canine or feline friends consume too many. 

The main problem with a pet ingesting these pests is that they have shells that are rather hard. When your pet eats too many of those crunchy shells, it can irritate the lining of the stomach which can lead to mild vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy. Give your vet a call for reassurance if you’re unsure or worried. 

Will cicadas ruin my plants? 

You don’t need to worry about cicadas eating your plants or vegetation. While they are herbivores, they typically eat liquid from plant roots as nymphs and transition to munching on twigs when molting. Adult cicadas don’t feed, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture

The biggest problem with cicadas against plant life is the damage they do when climbing new trees or plants. The sheer weight and volume of the insects can cripple a new plant’s growth. 

Newly laid lawns, short potted plants, gardens, and established trees & shrubs will hold up just fine against cicada activity. 

You may want to wrap up newly planted trees and more fragile tall plants with a fine mesh net. If you’ve been debating planting new trees this year and haven’t already done so, it may be best to wait before putting them in to avoid potential damage from the climbing cicadas. 

If you have any more questions about cicadas or other annoying critters, give go2-pros pest control a call! Our experienced exterminators are ready to provide answers to any of your cicada related inquiries. 

go-2 pros