Brood X left a gift for putting up with them

Cicada problem? Here are 9 things you need to know about everyone's least favorite bug
Posted at 5:39 AM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 12:28:14-04

CINCINNATI — Many of the Brood X cicadas across Cincinnati are dead, but before they go, they are giving the Tri-State one last gift.

Cicada carcasses are full of nutrients that are beneficial to plants, especially trees. Their bodies act as a natural fertilizer and will help nourish vegetation across the Tri-State. The plants won't bloom more or look greener, but they will be properly nourished.

"All those nutrients in the millions of cicadas that we saw will go into the soil," said Dr. Gene Kritsky, the dean of behavioral and natural sciences at Mount St. Joseph University. "Especially for those trees where they’ve clustered at the base of a tree and you just see mounds of these things."

However, cicada carcasses don't decompose easily, so they will stick around for a while, and they can smell.

Kritsky has a solution for that, though.

"If you don’t like the looks of them," he said, "one thing you can do is literally rake them away from the tree -- not far away -- and then when you mow, provided you have a mulching mower, that will hasten the decline and the smell right away.”

Kritsky said the cicada life-cycle has already started over.

Female cicadas laid their eggs in tree branches, and soon some leaves will turn brown and fall from trees. Then, cicada nymphs will hatch and fall into the soil, looking like dust falling from a tree.