Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Bugs just waiting for good soaking



By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A soaking rainstorm continues to be the only thing standing between an estimated 5 billion cicadas and Greater Cincinnati.

SPECIAL SECTION
Cicada watch 2004
The scattered showers around Greater Cincinnati on Monday produced a few cicada adults early Tuesday, said Dr. Gene Kritsky, biology professor at the College of Mount St. Joseph and local cicada authority. He is tracking this year's emergence of Brood X, the largest group of 17-year periodical cicadas.

Kritsky said about 30 cicadas emerged at one of the 15 sites he checked around the college Monday night, shedding their juvenile skin and turning into adults.

"It may be possible (today) to see large numbers in certain pockets," Kritsky said. "But the rain wasn't as widespread as we needed for the emergence to begin.

"Wherever we see rain, that will help speed things along. But it's too soon to tell if the emergence will officially begin (today)."

Ground temperatures dropped slightly from Monday to Tuesday. But at 64.9 degrees, it is still warm enough for the cicadas to begin coming out in mass numbers as soon as heavy rain loosens the ground.

"They can't dig through clay," Kritsky said.

The extended forecast for Greater Cincinnati isn't really cicada-friendly. It calls for a 30 percent chance of "pop-up" showers that can happen anywhere, at any time through the weekend - not the soaking rainstorm the cicadas need.

E-mail dklepal@enquirer.com




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