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Your local cicada forecast : Next level number of cicada emergences coming this spring and summer

West Chicago Voice - The voice of West Chicago, Illinois - digital local news - for locals by locals .
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This story originally ran on September 14, 2023 . Due to popular demand, it is being republished in it’s entirety.

Your local cicada forecast.

Yep!, you read that right. This is your local cicada forecast. While no large or major periodical cicada emergences are expected in the remainder of 2023, 2024 is a whole different story. We are talking next level cicada activity next spring, folks!  Just a few bugs here and there and it would be silly to write a newspaper article, but we are definitely NOT talking about a few here and there. We’re talking serious amounts, as in billions across the state of Illinois! Read that again, billions with a B,  of the noisy little buggers!

The upcoming emergence of the northern Illinois brood (also known as Brood XIII) expected in late May 2024 is renowned for being the most substantial cicada event ever observed. This distinction can be attributed to both the sheer scale of the emergence and the diligent research conducted by esteemed entomologists Monte Lloyd and Henry Dybas at the prestigious Field Museum in Chicago. Their extensive studies and subsequent reporting have contributed significantly to the world’s understanding of these fascinating insects.

In the midst of the 1956 emergence, researchers meticulously tallied an astonishing average of 311 nymphal emergence holes for every square yard of terrain in a lush forested floodplain close to Chicago. Astonishingly, this equates to a staggering 1½ million cicadas per acre. In upland areas, a more moderate count of 27 emergence holes per square yard was recorded, which translates to approximately 133,000 per acre. While this figure aligns more closely with typical emergence numbers, it still represents an immense quantity of these remarkable insects. To put it into perspective, the area encompassing a city block typically spans about 3½ acres.

During a year of complete emergence like 2024 will be, the cicadas resurface from the ground and immediately engage in their mating rituals, typically accompanied by the well-known cacophony associated with these insects. As Professor Emeritus of Entomology at the University of Maryland, Mike Raupp, has previously noted, once the cicadas emerge, it becomes a time of romance for them.

During their short lifespan of four to six weeks, male cicadas produce noise levels comparable to lawnmowers or passing jets. Their population numbers are notably high during this period, creating a spectacle that captivates both nature enthusiasts and curious onlookers. However, once their time comes to an end, the adult cicadas leave behind a new generation before passing away. These young nymphs will remain underground until the year 2038.

The phenomenon is not without its challenges, as the accumulation of cicada carcasses can lead to an unpleasant odor in the air. The University of Illinois has previously reported incidents of large numbers of dead cicadas littering the ground, requiring people in Chicago to clear their sidewalks using snow shovels.

While this event may cause some concern, it’s important to note that cicadas are harmless creatures that neither bite nor sting. Experts advise against using pesticides to combat periodical cicadas, as they are ineffective in controlling their population. Instead, it is recommended to embrace the beauty and wonder of this natural cycle, appreciating the unique spectacle that cicadas bring to the environment, WeGo included.
They’re coming WeGo, are you ready?

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