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Cicadas prepare to say goodbye to Clermont and NKY

Ohio's only 13-year cicadas, which were creating lots of buzz a few weeks ago in parts of Brown and Clermont Counties, are now fading fast. The adults will be gone by the end of June and their offspring will be falling from trees and by Christmas will be 8-12" below ground, according to entomologist Gene Kritsky of the College of Mt. St. Joseph and his website.

Clermont County Parks Director Chris Clingman remembers being covered in them just a few weeks ago near his home at Chilo Lock 34 Park. "When they were emerging I was standing still for about three minutes and they started crawling on my shoes and coming up my pant leg. There were probably two dozen."

For some reason they really loved this white pine tree.


This brood of cicadas seems to be only along the Ohio River Valley and a little bit south into Kentucky, including parts of Kenton, Campbell, Pendleton, Harrison, Robertson, Mason and Grant counties. Clingman says they are fun to watch at night. This is his video.


Quick facts about Greater Cincinnati cicadas from Kritsky:

  • These 13-year cicadas last emerged in 2001, pre-9/11
  • One brood of 17-year cicadas will emerge in 2017, hitting Mt. Healthy, Hyde Park, Green Township and Anderson Township
  • Two other broods are due to come out in 2021 (from I-71 to the west) and in 2025 (I-71 to the east)

What happens after the cicadas lay their eggs?

  1. The adults die
  2. The eggs hatch and the offspring drop from the trees and immediately go beneath the soil
  3. They feed on grass roots for a few weeks
  4. By Christmas they will be 8-12" below the ground and suck on tree roots for the next 13 years

If your trees are hit hard by cicada eggs, don't worry. Kritsky says it looks as if the tree will die, but it won't. Clingman says it's a natural kind of pruning. And it does help aerate the soil.
For the first time Kritsky is mapping cicadas when people email their smartphone pictures tagged with the location. So far he's got 500 locations.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.