Cicadas and Eastern Ohio in 2021

Over the last several weeks I have had several phone calls regarding the Cicada emergence. News agencies across the state have begun talking about the Cicada invasion, that will begin here in the next few weeks. What most of these agencies aren’t reporting, is that there are 15 different broods— both seventeen and thirteen year— of Cicadas across the Eastern United States. Of these 15 broods only four of them present themselves in Ohio. In additional to the periodical Cicadas that make headline news there are also annual Cicadas, which appear every summer but not in the quantity that the periodical cicadas show up in and these are not a concern for plants.

Of the four broods that are present in Ohio, there is little to no overlap in the areas that they occupy. The vast majority of Eastern Ohio, including Muskingum and all of the surrounding counties, are covered by brood five, which had their large emergence in 2016 and won’t emerge again until 2033. Brood 10 is the brood that will be emerging in 2021. This brood runs from Fayette County up to Seneca County and then west to the Ohio-Indiana border, along with a small tail that wraps down into the Cincinnati area.

Every year we see the dog-day of summer Cicadas which emerge later in the year. These have much lower population numbers and do little damage to trees. Due to the numbers of the periodical cicadas, they can do damage to small trees and shrubs. Typically, it is recommended to avoid planting small trees in the year of the periodical Cicadas. Established trees are not harmed by the damage that is done by Cicadas, and many times it can serve as natural pruning that removes some small branches.

In the end we have nothing to worry about when it comes to Cicadas here in East Central Ohio, at least not until 2033. Get out and enjoy the great outdoors without being attacked or deafened by Cicadas. This also means you don’t need to go out and cover your plants to protect them from becoming Cicada bait.

Environmental Conservation Organization

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