Cicadas emerge again, make their presence known

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May 23, 2024

Cicadas are back in the news. This time, it’s Brood XIX, which has a 13-year life cycle, and Brood XIII, which has a 17-year life cycle.

PHOTO: Peggy Greb, USDA-ARS, public domain image

Photo: Peggy Greb, USDA-ARS, public domain image

That’s right, these two broods are simultaneously making their way out of the ground, an event that last occurred in 1803. Although the cicadas will be prevalent in several Midwest and Southeast states, Illinois may be the only state where the two broods will emerge at the same time and place, USA Today reports.

Expect to find Brood XIX cicadas in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Expect to see Brood XIII cicadas in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin. They likely will make their presence known from May through June.

These broods are periodical cicadas, meaning they have 13- or 17-year life cycles. Periodical cicadas undergo five juvenile stages while underground, and feed on fluids from roots. Their bodies are green and brown, or green and black, and they are about 0.75 to 1.5 inches long. They differ from annual cicadas, which occur every year. Annual cicadas have black bodies, red eyes and wings with orange veins. At approximately 1.5 to 2.5 inches long, they are slightly larger.

Cicadas are not pests, however customers may contact you thinking pest management professionals (PMPs) can help remove them from structures, should they find their way indoors. Media reports say people in their path will experience an “invasion” a “cicadapocalypse” and “billions” and “trillions” of cicadas this spring.

While it’s difficult to predict the number of cicadas that will actually emerge, there’s no doubt you will hear them when they do. Adult male cicadas produce species-specific “songs” and form “choruses” to attract female cicadas. Male cicadas alternate “singing” with short flights until they find their female cicada mates. The sound they make are almost always species-specific, so cicada species can be identified by their sound.

When customers ask, assure them that cicadas:

  • Are not poisonous or venomous
  • Do not transmit disease
  • Do not sting or bite
  • Typically fly away when approached
  • Emerge from underground when the soil temperature rises to about 64 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Shed their shells and develop wings
  • When newly hatched, will burrow about two feet underground and remain there for the next 17 years if it is Brood XIII or 13 years if it is Brood XIX

Some South Carolina residents called police when they experienced the sounds cicadas make, AccuWeather reported. The noise complaints were taken in stride, as callers were advised they were simply hearing “the sounds of nature.”

For additional interesting cicada facts and fun, check out Orkin’s “Orkinstra,” featuring sounds of cicadas and taking place June 8.

Sources: Illinois Department of Natural Resources, University of Connecticut, The Nature Conservancy

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About the Author

Headshot: Diane Sofranec

Diane Sofranec is the senior editor for PMP magazine. She can be reached at dsofranec@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3793.

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