By Sean V. Lehosit
I’m sure I appeared crazy to my neighbors as I dodged, weaved and shouted up the stairs of my patio.
A handful of cicadas ricocheted off the staircase, repeatedly crashing into the walls before they bounced back into flight, narrowly missing my face.
This has become part of my nightly exercise routine. I must dodge these husky insects while taking my dog for a walk. In the morning, their bludgeoned bodies are scattered across my welcome mat. Bugs don’t usually freak me out, but the human-like scream of frenzied cicadas gives me the creeps.
I can sometimes hear their death throes from my living room, after they’ve beaten themselves against my front door enough times to render themselves flightless.
The Scioto Watershed runs through a thin tree line behind our place, so we’re no strangers to high volumes of insects. During the summer months, my dog and I stumble upon a fair share of mayflies, praying mantises, spiders and giant moths. But, this was definitely the summer for cicadas.
Growing up, I called these nuisances locusts. Although, they’re not related to the grasshopper in which the term properly belongs. I imagine they earned this colloquialism because rashes of these bugs would appear suddenly emerge after disappearing for a number of years.
The truth is, these periodical “broods” never left, but take 13-17 years to fully mature from the ground.
According to The Ohio State University, we have four groups of cicadas that appear in Ohio. Franklin County experienced its last mass appearance of periodical cicadas in 2004. Experts estimate they will swarm again in 2021.
The species tormenting my patio fall under the category of annual cicadas. Unlike other broods, they appear every year – yay, right?
If I’m already being plagued by these things now, I’d hate to see a true swarm.