As noisy as a dirt bike: The cicadas are coming to the Mountain State


HUNTINGTON WV (WOWK) — The parks are quiet now, and the absence of a familiar buzzing sound has not escaped the notice of locals.

“There’s supposed to be some this year, but I haven’t heard anything yet,” remarked Robert Bicknell of the Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District.

“As of yet, I’ve yet to hear any,” said Donnie Wilson, a resident of Huntington. What they’ve not yet heard are ‘Brood IX’ cicadas. However, reports are predicting soon, millions will emerge from the soils of southeastern West Virginia.

Mary Ann Haldeman, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds for the Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District, confirmed this.

Now, this year we are gonna have a big hatch, in our southeastern counties like Greenbriar, Monroe, Mercer, Summers.

Mary Ann Haldeman, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds for the Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District

And Haldeman means big. In some predictions, it is estimated that as many as 1.5 million of these insects can hatch per acre. Pest expert Patrick Langham said the cicadas themselves aren’t the only problem.

Well they’ll call, but typically when they call about that they’re also calling about the cicada killers which attack them and feed off of them, but you know there’s not a lot we can do about them. Basically I have to let them run their course, which is about a month.

Patrick Langham, pest expert


Those “cicada killers” are frequently a type of wasp.

Exactly where these pests will turn up is still only a prediction, but it is important to remember that despite being noisy, they are not harmful to humans.

Local resident Ruth Applegate said she remembers the last time the cicadas were in Ritter Park:

Probably 17 years ago they were here and you could hear them, there was a really big buzz sound and they were covering all the trees and it was kinda weird!

Ruth Applegate, local resident

She says she hopes that this year, they don’t return.

“Oh, I just think they’re weird and kinda ugly. And they fly! You know, they can fly so you don’t want em on you,” Applegate said.

Despite the drawbacks, Mary Ann Haldeman maintains even when the cicadas do pass through, they pose no risk to humans.

“They’re completely harmless, they don’t bite, they don’t sting. They’re safe for your pets, they’re safe for livestock. The only thing is, they make lots and lots of noise,” Haldeman said.

That noise can be as loud as 90-decibels — which is as noisy as a dirt bike or lawnmower.

If you do happen to see any cicadas and want to know if it is a part of this auspicious brood, there’s an app available.

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