POMEROY — It seems like only yesterday, but the cicadas are back.
The largest group of periodical cicadas, the 17-year variety, has already invaded the eastern U.S.
The insects spend most of their lives as nymphs burrowed underground. Their nourishment comes from sucking sap from tree roots. They emerge from their underground home once every 17 years, transform into adults, reproduce, and then die.
Cicadas are considered a delicacy by many people around the world and are low in fat, high in protein and gluten free. According to experts, the best way to eat cicadas is to collect them in the middle of the night as they emerge from their burrows and before their skins harden and boil for about a minute.
National Geographic stated the animal world benefits from the cicadas’ arrival. Songbirds and their young appreciate the plentifully and nutritious insects. Moles thrive on the fully grown nymphs in the weeks prior to the cicadas emergence, and they are also a treat for snakes and spiders.
Annoyingly loud and constant, they won’t be around for long, but in the meantime there are questions as to whether it is harmful for your dog or cat to eat one — or several.
“We have had several calls asking us if cicadas are toxic to animals,” said Meigs County Dog Warden Colleen MurphySmith, prompting Assistant Dog Warden Dee Cummings to post some information on their website.
The answer is, cicadas are not toxic, but they have a hard shell that gets “crunched” into pieces when a dog or cat puts one in their mouth. When swallowed, the shell material is just churning around inside their stomach lining and it’s likely to cause some upset stomach.
Eating too many may cause difficulty in digesting the cicada skins and there have been reported cases of dogs’ digestive tracts becoming blocked by eating too many.
Some signs of overindulgence are vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. If your cat or dog presents these symptoms, you are urged to contact your veterinarian.
By the middle to the end of June, the cicadas are gone, and for some dog and cat owners — and many humans — it can’t be soon enough.
Contact Lorna Hart at 740-992-2155 Ext. 2551.