When will cicadas emerge in Illinois in 2024? – NBC Chicago

As May flowers begin to sprout, another spring emergence is on the horizon in the Chicago area: cicadas.

And not just any cicadas. This spring emergence will mark a rare and historic moment as two broods will emerge in the United States for the first time in 221 years.

But when and where can you expect them most?

With Brood XIII and Brood XIX poised to emerge simultaneously, Illinois will be in a unique position to witness this unique emergence.

In most of Illinois and Chicago, at least one of the two broods is likely to emerge, but in a narrow part of the state, both could emerge at the same time, in the same place.

“It’s like the year of Illinois,” cicada expert Catherine Dana, affiliated with the Illinois Natural History Survey, told NBC Chicago. “We’re going to see cicadas emerge across the state.”

Here’s what you need to know:

When will cicadas emerge in Illinois?

The two 2024 broods will emerge earlier than the well-known “dog day” cicadas, which are often seen in early July, according to Dana.

Cicadas typically emerge when the ground begins to warm in spring and early summer.

This means emergence between mid-May and early June, although some could begin as early as late April.

For the Chicago area, Brood XIII will be most visible in parts of northern Illinois and Indiana, and perhaps even Wisconsin and Ohio, in late May 2024, said Dr. Gene Kritsky, dean of behavioral and natural sciences at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati said in a 2023 press release.

According to an article from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Extension, emergence of the northern Illinois brood typically occurs in May and June and lasts about four weeks.

“Adult cicadas will be active until mid-to-late June, but you will see evidence of them long after they are gone, including their wings, molts and decomposing bodies,” Dana said.

Where will Brood XIX and Brood XIII be seen?

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.

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

“Brood XIX is arguably the largest (in terms of geographic extent) of all periodic cicada broods, with records along the eastern seaboard from Maryland to Georgia and in the Midwest from Iowa to ‘Oklahoma,’ reports the University of Connecticut. “Although 13-year-old cicadas are generally considered to have a southern distribution, the northernmost known record of this brood is in Chebanse, Illinois, approximately 75 miles from Chicago’s Loop.”

Although the two broods have different regions of emergence, there could be overlap of the two in some places.

“Somewhere in central Illinois, probably like around Springfield, some researchers are predicting that we might see some overlap of these two different broods,” Dana said. “It won’t be a big area. But there will probably be some mating between these two broods, which will be really exciting.”

Here’s a map of what to expect in Illinois, according to data from the USDA Forest Service.

“Most of the state of Illinois will experience periodic emergence of cicadas in 2024,” the University of Illinois reported.

How many cicadas are expected in Illinois?

The northern Illinois brood itself is enormous, with a reputation for “the largest cicada emergence in the world,” according to the University of Illinois.

In 1956, entomologists reported as many as 311 “emergence holes” per square meter in a forested floodplain near Chicago, which experts said translates to 1.5 million cicadas per acre, according to the University of Illinois.

“When cicadas begin to die and fall from trees later in the spring, they are on the ground in large numbers and the odor of their decaying bodies is noticeable,” reports the University of Illinois. “In 1990, Chicagoans had to use snow shovels to clear their sidewalks of dead cicadas.”

This could happen again.

Experts are once again predicting “huge numbers,” with between 50,000 cicadas per acre and 1.5 million cicadas per acre potentially emerging for spring 2024.

“It’s possible because remember that each individual cicada will produce, its nymph skin will be lost, which will accumulate and then as it begins to die after it has finished breeding and laying eggs, it will begin to collect,” Kritsky said. “And we know that people have to remove some of these excess carcasses and shells from their trees, because … after that, after they’re collected from the trees, they can start to smell bad as they decompose .”

Dana added that gutters could also become clogged.

“You might have to take them out of the gutters, you know, we don’t want to clog our gutters,” she said. “A lot of times I see them in piles, you know, with the shells, right? I see them in piles at the base of trees, like just in the corners between the roots. They tend to have a lot of piles . there. But just add them to your compost pile, you know, let them decompose.

NBC Chicago

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