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Brood X cicadas expected to invade parts of central Ohio by next week

Experts are expecting one of the largest outbreaks of cicadas to arrive in Columbus.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Do you remember the 2004 Memorial Golf Tournament? Surely the golfers do! That year, cicadas overwhelmed the course at Muirfield landing on golfers and singing over the announcers. Those 17-year cicadas are back and are expected to be one of the largest outbreaks.

Credit: Dr. Gene Kritsky

According to local entomologist, Dave Shetlar, by the end of April, we will start to notice the cicadas in southwest Ohio before they start to appear in central Ohio. 

“Brood 10 will cover Ohio, most of Indiana, and the eastern border of Illinois. This is one of the larger broods and occupies a much larger area than all the other broods”, Shetlar said.

Credit: Dr. Gene Kritsky

Here in Central Ohio, we could see large groups of cicadas gathering around lush landscapes.

Neighborhoods with fruit trees or older trees will be highly susceptible.

“It’s going to be neighborhoods up in Westerville, Dublin, Powell that experience them. There are some places up in there that have some pretty old stands of trees," Shetler said.

Even parks like Highbanks Metro Park are expecting to be infiltrated by the noisy critters.

Credit: Dave Shetlar

As the weather gets warmer, so do our soil temperatures. Once the soil reaches 64 degrees, we will start to notice the cicadas emerge from their mud holes in the ground and flock to our foliage.

The 17-year cicadas live in these tunnel-like holes in the ground where they go through the first half of the life cycle, from nymphs to adults.

“If the nymph, an immature cicada, has red eyes that means it's going to come out this year. If you find a nymph with white eyes, it’s not coming out this year, it belongs to one of the other broods”, said Dr. Gene Kritsky.

Credit: Dr. Gene Kritsky

Dr. Gene Kritsky, the Dean of Behavioral and Natural Sciences at Mount St. Joseph University, has been studying cicadas for 45 years and has developed an app called “Cicada Safari” to track the emergence of the creepy critters.

Cicada Safari will track when and where the cicadas are emerging based on photos and videos submitted through the app. You can learn more or download the app here.

While they might be annoying, cicadas are not harmful to humans or pets.

"They are considered a tasty treat for our pets. They fall for the cicada trick to engorge themselves until they can't eat anymore. That's how the rest of the cicadas survive and go on to make the next generation," Shetlar said.