MIAMI VALLEY, Ohio (WDTN) — Cicadas will be flying around the Miami Valley by the end of the week.
Kevin Przybylski, the Medical Director at MedVet Dayton, said pets will be very interested in the flying insects.
“I think the biggest concern on everyone’s mind is how dogs, in particular, are going to react to cicadas,” Przybylski said.
Don Cipollini is a professor of biological sciences at Wright State University. He said he expects the nymphs to emerge as temperatures warm up this week.
“Expect them to be crawling up trunks of trees, up walls, up swing sets,” Cipollini said, “when they first emerge and shed their last nymph skin.”
“Pet’s won’t show as much interest in the shells since they’re not moving,” Przybylski said. “I think the sequence of events will be the bugs will be moving and then the dog is interested and then, therefore, eats it.”
Cicadas are not toxic or poisonous. Joe Boggs is an Associate Professor at Ohio State University and works with OSU Entomology and OSU Extension. He said the exoskeleton can be difficult to digest.
“There are dogs that have been taken to the vet because of gorging and getting sick,” Boggs said. “Just pay attention if they’re outside.”
“Families with chocolate labs, for instance, the labs are going to love to play with them, and most likely eat them,” Przybylski said. “And along with eating them, of course, comes with an upset stomach and throwing up and other complications that come along with that.”
Boggs compared eating a cicada with a fully developed adult exoskeleton to eating a Twinkie with the cellophane wrapper left intact.
“Actually it’s even worse because that exoskeleton, you have wings, you have all of this hard stuff,” Boggs said.
“Emergency care is always a good idea if your dog is vomiting excessively and is getting dehydrated, losing a lot of fluids,” Przybylski said. “Certainly if a few hours go by and the dog’s still not eating, drinking he’s starting to show symptoms of lethargy, so he’s just laying around and acting mopy, it’s always a good idea to bring him into the veterinarian. We can certainly treat the upset stomach. Give them fluids if they need it and make them feel better.
Przybylski said he doesn’t expect cats to eat the bugs.
“I expect cats to think they’re very fun to play with,” Przybylski said. “I think they’ll chase them and they’re going to bat them around and knock off their legs and wings.”
Boggs said if a cat does eat a few it may feel sick. He said chickens will also eat them, but tend to eat the right amount that their digestive system can handle.
“Chickens kind of have an easier time with it. They seem to know when to stop,” Boggs said.
Many animals do use the cicadas for a vital food source.
“There have been lots of studies on bird populations, and small mammal populations showing that they benefit for the next year or two after this large emergence,” Cipollini said. “Their populations are larger as a result of this huge input of this huge food source.”