Brood X cicadas starting to emerge in Lexington area

Brood X cicadas starting to emerge in Lexington area
Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 3:01 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - As our temperatures warm up and the soil temperature increases, the 17-year Brood X cicadas are starting to pop up all across the bluegrass.

“We will see them associate more with areas that have rivers or streams or creeks. We know that the counties we expect the heaviest emergence in are near the Ohio River. I know I’ve found five in my backyard in Fayette County,” said Jonathan Larson, an extension entomologist for the University of Kentucky.

Larson says these insects are nothing to worry about.

“Periodical cicadas are not disease vectors, which is a good question. We always want to make sure that people are healthy and hearty, and these ones don’t bite or sting people so there is nothing public health-wise that we are worried about,” Larson said.

For the health of our furry friends though, the bugs could pose an issue. If they eat too many of them they can get sick.

“A few here and there or if they nab them while you are out walking they will be fine. But, if they go in the backyard and eat a whole pile of them it would be the same that would happen to you if you did that with a bunch of tacos,” Larson said.

Trees are another place that can be taken hostage by cicadas.

“The female wants to lay her eggs in the twigs and branches of those trees. A big tree that’s been around for 10-20 years, it has lots of branches, it has lots of leaves, it’s going to be able to go through this process and not really suffer any ill effects. The smaller the tree, the more likely it is to suffer sort of catastrophic amounts of damage,” Larson said.

Scientists hope that if you start to see the cicadas in your backyard that you will report them to your local extension office and also on a cicada tracking app. That will let your neighbors know to protect their trees.

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