Cicadas return to northeast Ohio

Cicadas return to northeast Ohio

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Get ready for those pesky cicadas.

The noisy bugs are the Rip Van Winkle of the insect world. They sleep and feed underground for 17 years before they emerge and annoy most of the population.

"We're at the beginning stages of the emergence," Mark Warman of the Cleveland MetroParks said. "When the soil temperature reaches a certain point, that's when they will start their emergence."

That temperature is 64 degrees and about 8 inches deep for four consecutive nights.

Cicadas are extremely beneficial to the environment, Warman said.

"This is an incredible benefit. This is fuel for predators. There are literally hundreds of predators that will make use and eat these cicadas. Then after they pass away they'll be nutrients and fertilizer for the soil," Warman explained.

In fact, there are plenty of cicadas to go around. There can be as many as 1.5 million cicadas per acre.

Warman explained cicadas are merely here to help.

"They don't sting. They don't bite. Their natural defense is safety in numbers. Their goal is to satisfy all the predators around," Warman said.

So get ready for an eerie sounding outdoors for 5-6 weeks. When they sound off, you can barely hear yourself think.

They produce about 100 decibels, like being in a noisy cafeteria and standing next to a running lawnmower.

Apparently, you can eat cicadas.

"My sources tell me you want to get them just as they emerge," Warman said. "The soft tender adults can be compared maybe to shrimp, saute them in a little bit of butter, get rid of the wings. But once they have fully harden, their exoskeletons, that crunch, I've heard is not so appetizing."

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