2021 CICADAS The Invasion – Do We Need To Worry?

In Ohio, the Cicadas have invaded. That 17 year cycle has again returned and the news reports and hype all about these cicadas invading has a lot of people commenting that they won’t go outside in their garden this year. They are afraid.

First of all, cicadas are here every year in your garden. This year it happens that the Brood X or Brood Ten is emerging from its 17 years underground and we will see quite a bit more and the cicada noise…sorry, the cicada singing, will be more pronounced.

Cicada coming out of exoskeleton
I put the cicada on a sheet of paper for her photo shoot

Do Cicadas Sting or Bite?

But I believe that it is “much ado about nothing.” Well, maybe not “nothing”, but hardly enough to feel as if you cannot go out in your garden and do everything just like you always have.

I plan to make hypertufa pots and plant and weed just like I always did. The only difference is that I will probably run and grab my camera if I see one of those Cicadas. They are wonderful to look at!

Cicada with wings not straightened

They will not sting or bite so no need to fear that. I did have one climb on my leg. Guess I was the vertical surface it was looking for or my leg looked like a tree trunk. Excuse me!?!

See so many crawling around gives me a little of the “Ick” factor. But mostly curiosity to see them and those bulging red eyes. Careful. They can decide to fly suddenly.

New cicada still white or pink

What Do They Look Like?

Cicadas are, at first, a pretty white or pale pink/peach color. I guess the color is in the eye of the beholder. I saw it as pink. It seems to be that the color is appropriate since I saw the cicadas referred to as land shrimp. Cicadas taste like shrimp. Oh do they?

Who ate them to see what they taste like? Is that true? Have YOU eaten one?

Watch this video on YouTube.
My YouTube Channel - Kim's Gardens

As soon as the soil is warm enough (about 64°F or 18°C), they begin to emerge. The nymph will climb or cling to any vertical surface (I found my first one on a blade of grass), and start shedding the exoskeleton. That’s the “shell” you see piling up under trees or stuck to the trunk.

I noticed white strands that seem to flow out from the exoskeletons of the cicadas that is left hanging on the tree bark. Searching on the internet brought me no clue as to what those are, but maybe that is almost an “umbilical cord” type thing that is left behind when the nymph frees itself.

Cicadas exoskeletons left behind on tree trunk

Around here in Ohio, they were to emerge about the third week of May, but I first found them at my garden on May 27th. And they just keep coming!

As the Cicadas dry, the insect gets darker and darker and finally achieves the almost black color of a mature Cicada. It keeps the bright red eyes, though. I think it is awesome to look at!

Cicada on a blade of grass

Why Is The Cicadas Going Up The Tree?

These Brood X cicadas drying out and maturing, climbing vertically into the trees, singing and calling out to the others who have emerged to come and mate. I have some audio included in my video that I got as they “sang” in the trees behind out house.

It is a shrill sound that you will recognize as just one of the summer sounds we hear every year. It is just louder this year because there are so many at once.

Lonely cicada exoskeleton on a tree

An Outdoor Wedding With Cicadas?

As for the last 17 year cycle, that was in 2004 and we had planned an outdoor wedding on June 18th with my daughter that year. Even though it was the year of the Cicada, we had no problem at all with any cicada during her ceremony and dinner and dancing outdoors.

So don’t feel that any summer outing has to change or move indoors at all. The cicada is just another one of the many insects that are with us all the time and are just taken for granted or looked past.

wedding couple in 2004 cicada invasion
No cicadas bothered us at my daughter’s outdoor wedding.

I’ll bet there are more gnats in my plants on the deck than there are cicadas in the trees.

Though not the same size…thank God!

References: https://cicadasafari.org/cicada-safari/

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