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As Chicago’s cicadas come out, Navy Pier declares it will be a ‘cicada-free’ zone – NBC Chicago

As cicadas slowly begin to emerge from the ground and plan to spread throughout the region, an iconic Chicago location will soon declare itself a “cicada-free zone.” Well, sort of.

According to the organizers, the declaration is “more playful than conclusive”. However, the location – Navy Pier – may prove less attractive to cicadas due to its artificial construction and aquatic environment, a press release states.

“In a friendly play on words, popular spots along the South Dock will post their own warnings to unwanted winged guests, such as ‘All Suds. No Bugs’ (Navy Pier Beer Garden), ‘Take a Ride Without the Din’ ( Centennial Ferris Wheel), “Lakeside Glamor Without the Clamour” (Sable Hotel), “Cheezborger plus,” the release said.

According to officials, the official declaration will take place Thursday morning. Organizers will wear “The Great Cicada Escape” t-shirts, while performers will sing a parody of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Cecilia,” aptly called “Cicada.”

It is unclear whether the cicadas expected to emerge in Illinois will visit the pier or not. However, experts say they are much more likely to hang out in forested areas.

When will cicadas appear in Chicago?

For the past 17 years, billions of Brood XIII cicadas have lived underground, drawing on fluid from plant roots, said Allan Lawrance, associate curator of entomology at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago. Once they emerge, usually in mid-May, they will be there for four to six weeks, Lawrance added.

And once they dig, there’s “really no escaping from them,” Lawrance said, especially on and around trees, where “heaps” of shells can be expected of cicadas after the insects have feasted on the liquid from branches and woody shrubs.

“You’re just going to see them flying around, hanging out in the trees, and you’re going to hear them everywhere you go,” Lawrance said.

According to Insect Asylum experts, peak emergence should occur in mid-May in the Chicago area. Sightings have already been reported throughout the region, but many factors will determine when cicadas begin emerging en masse from the ground.

“The periodical cicadas have been emerging for the last week and a half,” Stephanie Adams, a plant pathologist at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, said last month of Brood XIII, which will soon spread throughout the Chicago area. “We found them both here in our landscape and also in our eastern woods.”

Cicadas typically emerge when the ground begins to warm in spring and early summer, which is between mid-May and late June.

According to Adams, the emergence of the first cicadas occurs about two weeks earlier than the historical average. This will continue to be sporadic, however, as soil temperature, mulch, and turf all impact cicadas differently. For example, the ground is warmer near sidewalks, so cicadas in those locations should emerge more quickly.

The ideal soil temperature for cicadas is 64 degrees, but increased humidity can also play a role, the Insect Asylum reported.

Which areas will see the most?

According to experts, the distribution will be uneven.

Not every neighborhood will be as dense as others,” Lawrance said. “One area may be slightly quieter and you’ll hear them in the distance. And then you go to the next neighborhood, and it’s moving, and they’re everywhere. »

There is, however, one determining factor: if they were there before, they will be there again.

“So the neighborhoods you expect to find them in will depend on where they were the last time they appeared,” Lawrance said. “If the ground had been completely dug up and replaced because of construction, there might be fewer cicadas. But if they were there last time, there’s a good chance they would still be there.”

It will be the same for the next 17 years.

After emerging in spring and summer, female periodical cicadas will lay their eggs atop tree branches. Eventually, these eggs will hatch and drop into the soil, Lawrance said. The nymphs then burrow underground and their 17-year life cycle begins again.

Which trees do cicadas gravitate towards?

In general, cicadas are “unpeculiar” – meaning they use a variety of trees and shrubs as hosts – they are known to lay their eggs in favored plants.

“Although most cicadas are considered generalists, with a wide range of host plants, they have preferences like all living creatures,” states an article in the Morton Arboretum.

According to the Arboretum, cicadas “tend to not prefer” plants whose sap or gum might prevent eggs from hatching. Some of these trees include conifers like pine, spruce and fir. These trees may also include cherry, peach, plum or persimmon, the Arboretum said.

MORE: The 1 Thing You Can Do to Potentially Limit the Number of Cicadas in Your Garden, According to Experts

Although not picky, the insects are known to lay eggs in certain trees, the Arboretum said, including oak, maple, hickory, apple, birch, dogwood, basswood, willow , elm, ginkgo and pear.

“Cicadas can also lay eggs in certain shrubs, such as rose bushes, lilacs and forsythia,” the Arboretum said.

Arboretum records show that during the emergence 17 years ago, some of the plants most affected by the emergence were maples, cherries, ashes, hawthorns, willows, mountain ash, oaks , pear trees, rose bushes, privet, poplars, saskatoon berries and beeches.

Cicada map

The Northern Illinois Brood, or Brood XIII, will be most visible in parts of northern Illinois and Indiana, and perhaps even in Wisconsin, Iowa and parts of Ohio . This brood will be the largest in the Chicago area for the next emergence.

Cicadas have a lifespan of about four weeks, meaning emergence should last until at least mid-June.

Meanwhile, Brood XIX, or Great Southern Brood cicadas, have a more widespread population, covering parts of Missouri, Illinois, Louisiana, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland.

NBC Chicago

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