cicada on woman's fingers

So Do Cicadas Bite? Depends On What You Call Bite!

Our Cicada invasion for 2021 is coming to an end here in Ohio as I write this, and I do want to address the question “Do Cicadas bite?”

Bite perhaps wouldn’t be the correct word to use, but “pierce” is the term I would use for what these insects do with their mouth parts. The mouthparts form a long, sharp rostrum that they insert into the plant to feed.

closeup of cicadas showing piercing mouthpart

So whether you are calling it a bite or not is up to you, but if you allow one of those insects to crawl on your skin for a while, they just seem to think you are a nice sapling or tree and seem tasty, so they stick their piercing and sucking mouth part on your skin and PIERCE!

Yes, I have been pierced and it hurts. Just a bit, like a pin prick, but this is enough that I don’t want the cicadas staying on my skin for more than a moment.

many cicadas on a tree trunk

It is like a prick of a pin and when they stop as you shake them off you, it immediately goes away. But as I have read about them, they don’t sting or bite etc. But just remember, they do pierce!

Biting Cicadas

In my memory, this is the most cicadas I have ever seen and they were really swarming here in Southeast Ohio. I have had cicadas in my hair as I water my plants outside and I have even carried a few inside with me.

Don’t worry if you don’t notice one on your back or in your hair as you walk inside. It seems that each time I did that, the cicada started “singing” inside. Wow, did it sound loud inside the house! We were always able to capture it quickly and put it back outside.

Don’t Have Cicadas? What About Midges?

We traveled during June, I didn’t see any in cicadas in Pennsylvania or New York. We took a road trip to Niagara Falls. (It was glorious, so if you get a chance, go see it.) Even though I saw no cicadas there, in Niagara Falls we saw great clouds of midges.

Niagara Falls

We noticed grayish forms in the sky and across our line of vision that seemed like far-away swirling birds. But it turned out these were closer up but were clouds of millions of tiny midges swirling like tiny tornadoes in the sky.

clouds of midges in the sky in New York

And they coated the cars and yourself too! Personally I have never seen anything like that. I think you can faintly see these in some photos we took. That center tree has those smudgy looking clouds in the sky which are millions of midges swarming.

And here is what the midges are up to. If I understand correctly, it’s almost the same as the cicadas. Midges emerge, swarm, mate, lay eggs and die. The circle of life, right?

Here is what I am calling a midge or gnat.

mides entwined together end to end

Do Cicadas Bite?

Yes, they bite for all intents even though it is a pierce instead of a bite or sting. When a mosquito “bites” you with the same sort of structure, we call it a mosquito bite. So cicadas bite too. They just don’t suck your blood, they are looking for tree sap.

And you wouldn’t itch necessarily because they aren’t injecting their fluids as a mosquito would to prevent coagulation and all that mess that causes the bite to itch.

Do Cicadas Bite? Yes, they bite just like a mosquito but it doesn't itch. It does have a pierce!

So I guess I need to rethink my position about the cicadas not being all that much trouble this 17 year session. They were a LOT of problems and all over the place, living ones and all the dead ones as they collected. My sidewalks and garden beds were lined with little corpses.

So glad it wasn’t like that at my daughter’s wedding. See my last post that I wrote prior to it getting really bad here in Ohio. Eating my words.

dead and squished cicadas who bite!

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