Apr 9, 2024 - News

What to know about Illinois' impending cicada emergence

Photo of a cicada bug flying

A cicada takes flight in June 2021 in Columbia, Maryland. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Now that the eclipse is over, it's time to move on to another sign of the coming apocalypse: cicadas.

The big picture: In May and June, two broods of cicadas will hatch from the ground in a once-in-a-lifetime concurrent emergence. It will affect Chicago somewhat, but more so downstate.

State of play: Sounds creepy.

Yes, but: These bugs don't attack, they don't send droppings all over the sidewalk, and they don't go nosing through your trash.

They are loud. Then again, so are Chicagoans.

Zoom in: Don't take my word for it. I reached out to the University of Illinois' Catherine Dana, a cicada expert.

  • "These emergences are truly a natural wonder of the world; you don't see anything like this anywhere else," she said.
  • "The sheer biomass can be overwhelming. … Your plants will love the free fertilizer as the cicadas die and decompose on the ground."
  • "One of the things that is amazing about driving through the city or the surrounding suburban areas is that you will hear the noise wax and wane, from areas that have older stands of trees to areas that are mostly asphalt and concrete."

The big picture: "These two broods won't co-emerge again for another 221 years. I truly encourage everyone to go seek them out for this incredible event."

Bottom line: Perhaps we should embrace our new cicada overlords.

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