Are cicadas about to invade the region?

Posted at 3:20 PM, Feb 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-19 08:19:39-04

CINCINNATI – Cicadas will return to Ohio again this year.

Greater Cincinnati should be spared from the big, ugly bugs, but anyone who travels east this spring and summer may face them as cicadas are expected to emerge across a swath that covers about half of Ohio.

Brood V emerges every 17 years and was last seen in 1999. The brood covers large areas of Ohio and West Virginia, as well as smaller parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Most cicada broods in the U.S. emerge just once every 17 years as part of the insects’ unusual life cycle. Cicadas spend most of their lives burrowed, slowly maturing until they all emerge at once, breed and die. They’re known for their loud, continuous mating songs and their tendency to fly right into people due to poor eyesight.

Cincinnati wouldn’t normally be due to see cicadas again until 2021.

However, Cincinnati could see a smaller emergence next year, according to Gene Kritsky of Mount St. Joseph University. That smaller brood would be part of an experiment set up in 2000 by Kritsky using cicadas derived from Brood X, which was last seen in 2004.

Kritsky estimated Cincinnati could see “a few hundred thousand” cicadas over the city, which would be just 15 percent of what will come in 2021.

Another 17-year brood, Brood XIV, covers parts of Hamilton, Butler, Warren, Clermont, Clinton, Brown, Highland and Adams counties. It was last seen in 2008 and is expected to emerge in 2025.