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Cold weather halts upcoming cicada emergence

The colder weather has delayed the mass emergence of cicadas across the area for a couple weeks.
Credit: 10tv

Temperatures have taken a tumble recently and this has been causing many of us to hold back on planting some of our outdoor plants. 

Not only is this cold weather impacting us, but it's also holding back the mass emergence of cicadas that are expected to come up this spring. 

If you're hoping that the chilly weather will help "remove" some of these cicadas, think again.

Dr. Jeff Terwin, Head of School at The Wellington School has an extensive background in ecology and he said that the colder weather we're experiencing right now won't harm the cicadas, but it will delay the mass emergence we've been expecting across parts of Ohio this spring.

"These cold nights won't kill them but what it's done is slowed everything down."

Dr. Terwin said the cicadas are waiting for the magic soil number of 64 degrees to emerge and lately we've been in the low 50s. 

"They are waiting for that temperature signal.  We were expecting them mid-May and now it may push to late May."

He also said that some cicadas may emerge early to "test the air" and they could be harmed from the cooler temperatures, but the bulk of them are perfectly fine deep into the soil where it is much warmer.

It's easy to measure air the temperature, but what if you're curious about the soil temperature? 

There's an easy way to estimate the soil temperatures and it's also a great way to teach kids about math and averages.

Credit: 10tv

In order to get an estimate for soil temperature, simply take the average temperature from the highs and lows for 3 consecutive days.

In the example above we took the average temperature from the highs and lows from this past weekend and added those 3 numbers together and then divided them by 3. That gave us a soil temperature of 47.8 degrees.

The magic number is 64 degrees for this mass brood emergence, so we will likely have to wait a few more weeks for temperatures to warm up enough to hit 64 degrees.

Dr. Terwin said that this a great learning opportunity for families and their kids. He encourages everyone to get outside and take some time to study these insects and learn more about them.