Historic Cicada Emergence to Soon Hit Illinois

Estimated read time 4 min read

The Chicago area anticipates a rare natural event unseen for over 200 years. For the first time since 1803, two separate cicada broods, Brood XIII and Brood XIX, will come out together. This seldom seen synchronizing incidence represents the first combined emergence of these broods in 221 years.


Understanding Cicadas’ Synchronized Coming Out

A large population of cicadas appearing all at once is called synchronization. This interesting natural process has intrigued scientists for a long time. As per Northwestern University’s Jorin Graham, a Ph.D. candidate in physics and network science, synchronization is noticeable in many areas, from engineered systems like power grids to biological systems like brain neuron activities. Cicadas accomplish this by timestamping years using the yearly cycles of tree xylem flows where they live.


The Planning behind Their Scheduled Appearance

Cicadas have a distinct lifespan that usually spends 13 or 17 years underground based on their group type. While hiding underground they slowly grow up by sucking tree root xylem sap. Jorin Graham said, “Cicadas count years with remarkable precision dictating their synchronization.” Some cicadas known as “stragglers,” that incorrectly count time and emerge early fall prey to predators which helps maintaining the sync of the majority.


Expectations from the 2024 Emergence

The current year appears favorable for a major cicada appearance. Jennifer Rydzewski an ecologist from DuPage County’s Forest Preserve District mentions “Cicadas start showing up when soil eight inches deep becomes around 64 degrees Fahrenheit warm”. Given the upcoming warm weekend, we can expect them any day now, making noise throughout the region.


The Effect on Illinois

This 2024 cicada awakening is expected to leave a significant mark on Illinois. “It’s a big year for Illinois related to cicadas,” says Catherine Dana, a state Natural History Survey’s cicada expert. Northern parts of Illinois and regions in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio are getting ready for Brood XIII while Missouri, Louisiana, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and rest of the Illinois are expecting Brood XIX also known as the Great Southern Brood.


Cicada Lifecycle & Their Part in Ecology

Post-emergence cicadas usually climb up the nearby tree where they shed their old skins and grow into adults. Usually, their loud mating noise follows this stage. Despite the high population count and big noise they are harmless to humans but play an important part in maintaining our ecosystem by recycling nutrients while also providing food for many predators says Rydzewski.


Preparations in Local Communities & Cultural Interest

Sightings of massive swarms of cicadas both excite locals and push them towards precautionary steps like wrapping up young trees with thin net to protect them from possible damage shares Stephanie Adams from Morton Arboretum. Also, some locals have expressed interest in experimenting with cooking recipes that includes these bugs as a source of good and sustainable protein.


Cicadas as Food!

Serving up bugs on plates brings an interesting opportunity for food enthusiasts looking for sustainable options like high protein sources that doesn’t affect our environment Maureen Turcatel from Field Museum of Natural History tells us. Demo sessions showing how to cook bugs especially cicadas generate great interest suggesting people might be warming up towards bug eating more generally known as entomophagy.


Broader Effects of Cicada Appearance

The dual appearance of cicada broods not only brings scientific interests but also increased awareness and learning about elements that control the world around us. A broader variation and environmental effects study can be pursued while people get educated better about nature.


Bottomline, Embrace the Natural Display

The upcoming cicada emergence brings unique importance to Illinois with its biological relevance and overall effect on ecology & society. This event nudges people, scientists and nature enthusiasts to both participate, research on and appreciate this extraordinary natural phenomenon. This year promises to present lessons on diverse aspects of nature as the cicadas make their short yet unforgettable appearance.

Celina Brooks https://www.southcountymail.com

Celina Brooks from Mussoorie is a Writer & Researcher. She earned her Engineering degree in IT from Rutgers University. She is a technology enthusiast but loves writing and talking about local news as well. She is a jolly person with 2 children.

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