Though annoying to many, cicadas provide benefits

cicada-1075766_1920Have you seen the cicadas yet?

This year, over a billion cicadas will continue invading parts of the northeastern stretch of the US, including Ohio. The 17-year cicadas, type Brood V, begin emerging when the soil 8″ beneath the ground reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit. When they reach the surface, they take to the trees to lay their eggs. After 6 weeks, the eggs hatch, the babies (called nymphs) fall to the ground, and they burrow beneath the earth for another 17 years.

So what is the upside to this bug invasion?

From their noisy mating call to their shell shedding, it would seem that a cicada invasion is nothing but an annoyance. On the contrary, their arrival has enormous environmental benefits. Their tunnels aerate the soil, their bodies provide nutrients for both plants and animals, and when they lay their eggs it provides a natural pruning that enhances tree growth.

And, if you want to take their benefits a step further, cicadas are gluten-free, low fat, low carb, and a great source of protein. A perfect treat for your favorite house pet. Or even for you. Check out these recipes for a new summer snack!

What if you don’t want to eat them?

You can watch them! Check out your local Ohio Metro Park or State Park to see when cicada viewings and activities are scheduled in your area. The cicadas are expected to emerge in the following locations: Athens, Cuyahoga, Medina and Summit counties, Hocking State Forest, Tar Hollow State Forest, Strouds Run State Park, and Findley State Park.

For more information on cicadas, visit the Cicada Central Magicicada Database, or view these Frequently Asked Questions.

 

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