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Know Ohio: Bugs From the Buckeye State

This overview highlights just a few of the many insects found in Ohio: the cicada, the praying mantis, and – Ohio's state insect – the lady bug!

Class Discussion Questions:

1) Using information from the segment, create a biographical baseball card for one of the featured bugs.

Read the Script:

[MARY] Something creepy is crawling around the state. Was that a spider? I'll have to send News Cat to investigate. Meanwhile, I'd like to tell you about the hundreds of species of bugs that are flying, crawling, slithering, and hopping around the Buckeye state.

One in particular even seems to rise from the dead. Maybe over the summer you heard this sound: It was the return of the cicadas. These large winged insects are best known for their loud buzzing noises and for their unusual life cycles.

When young cicadas, called nymphs, hatch from eggs laid on trees, they crawl into the ground and attach to the tree roots. They feed on the liquid of the roots for several years. In Ohio, usually for 13 or 17 years.

Then, they reappear above ground. Here they shed their baby skin to become adults. You might still be able to find a couple cicada shells clinging to the trees. Once their adult skin and wings harden, they set about to find their bug loves.

The adult male bugs make very loud buzzing and clicking noises that can be deafening when the bugs swarm together. Of course, they're trying to find a lady cicada to reproduce with. So many emerge at the same time that often people are afraid there's a plague. But the insects are typically harmless to humans.

A bug that seems a little friendlier is the state's insect, the ladybug. That's just its nickname, though. Its full name is the ladybird beetle. Pretty fancy, huh? The insect was chosen in 1975 by Ohio lawmakers to represent the state. It is supposed to be symbolic of the people of Ohio: friendly and proud but also hardworking and hearty.

And here's one last bug-eyed beauty. The stagmomantis carolina. No, not related to the dinosaurs. The praying mantis is named after the way they hold their large front legs. These legs have sharp tooth-like spikes on them that allow the bugs to clamp down on prey.

Farmers love them because they're good at keeping insects away from their crops. The praying mantis is even able to turn its head from side to side. Some species can grow up to five inches long.

And oh yeah, they are said to be lucky. So if you spot a praying mantis, you just might be blessed.