A jet plane flying into the Columbus International Airport creates about 80 decibels of sound, but believe it or not, a large tree filled with male cicadas has been recorded at a level of 96 decibels. That seems crazy, but I remember the last really big hatch that I experienced in Jackson.  I kid you not, I remember working in the yard and getting dizzy from the overwhelming, non-stop, deafening calls of the male cicadas. The effect was amplified when I thought about my dad saying that the cicadas call out to the pharaoh. “Pharaoh-Pharaoh-Pharaoh-Pharaoh!” 

Prepare yourself for the hatch of Brood X; they will be crawling out of the ground heaviest at the end of May through June. In 2004, when this brood last emerged, there were areas where 356 cicadas were crawling out of the ground every square yard. Depending on your location, there can be hundreds of thousands, and in some places millions of cicadas calling for a mate.  

Western Ohio seems like it will be the worst, and Jackson County Ohio is right on the eastern front of the map. Females laid eggs in trees 17 years ago, the nymphs fell to the ground and crawled down about a foot or two. They then fed on the sap for 17 years, then all at once they come burrowing out of the ground to mate. Absolutely amazing! 

Unlike the annual cicadas that are green, the periodical cicadas are known for their black bodies and bright red eyes -- one of the most stunning insects on the planet. I remember our chickens eating these little protein packets by the hundreds. I also remember the wild turkey population seemed to relish in the feast as well.   

I watched the females lay their eggs into our young fruit trees. They move like a sewing machine, drilling holes and laying eggs as they move along the branch. I would encourage you to try and find a young tree and watch this sight for yourself. Our young trees nearly died, and it seemed to take almost three years for them to fully recover. So, if tree-planting is on your agenda this year, I would wait for the cicadas to finish before planting. 

God bless you all, RHM.