The Cicadas Show in Illinois, What’s Next?

Estimated read time 4 min read

In Illinois, cicadas are noticeably coming in large numbers. With the decreasing of live cicadas and seeing more dead ones, people are wondering when they will be gone.


How Long Will Cicadas Stay?

The periodical cicadas we see now should disperse by late June. Famous for their long lives of 13 or 17 years spent mostly underground, they surface to lay eggs and mate. Adult cicadas typically live for a month. So, you can expect them to start dying out by end June.

In 1990, so many cicadas died that citizens in Chicago needed snow shovels to clean their walkways of dead bugs.


Cicadas That Appear Each Year

Not surprisingly, some cicada groups surface every year despite the uproar caused by periodical cicadas. These every day or “dog day” bugs appear around July during peak summer according to Kacie Athey from University of Illinois Extension specializing in crop-based insects.


A Historic Double Emergence

The current batch of dying off periodical cicadas are from two broods (Brood XIII and Brood XIX). This double emergence hasn’t been seen since 1803. The overlap drew attention from bug watchers as is won’t occur again until 2245 after its repeat in 2024.


Why Do We Need Cicadas?

Cicada nymphs play a key role in reinforcing our ecosystem like enriching the soil and assisting mature trees grow further. They also provide food for various animals and some humans too! After they die, their bodies offer nitrogen nourishment for growing trees.


Will Cicadas Finally Leave?

In many parts of Illinois, the end is in sight for cicadas that have a life cycle of around four weeks. Dr. Gene Kritsky from Mount St. Joseph University predicts that these cicadas will likely be gone by mid-June. Though their numbers are decreasing, the noise and sightings won’t stop as they go about their lives above ground.


Hotspots for Cicada Sightings

The most sightings are reported from the western suburbs of Chicago, especially near Downers Grove. Areas like Oak Park and south suburbs around Palos Park and Park Forest along with Lake Forest and Highland Park in north have also seen significant cicada activities. Sightings sharply increased in mid-May due to warm weather which triggered more emergences.


How Habitat Affects Cicada Appearance

Cicadas appear discontinuously, they only surprise us from under trees which means areas with old woods would see them more than freshly developed areas that removed their habitats 13 or 17 years ago despite having trees now! These little critters don’t fly away too far from their birthplace – within few hundred yards approximately.


The Cicada Season

Experts foresee the end of cicada season by late June as most have already surfaced. Their activity above ground typically lasts six weeks once they come out. The residents can expect a respite from these noisy insects by month end.


When Will Central Illinois Bid Goodbye to Cicadas?

In Central Illinois, several places have been taken over by large loud bugs while others didn’t see many. In May, two concurrent emergences were first observed after 200 years! To some people who are tired of the bugs and their noise, there might be an early end to this.

As Waverly inhabitant Roman Hudgins reports, “There are hundreds of them, they’re everywhere”. Some are seeing them in more locations than others.

Places with a lot of old trees or those having trees 13 or 17 years ago depending on cicada brood would see more according to Dr. Kacie Athey from University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Newly developed areas that may have eradicated habitats 13 or 17 years ago wouldn’t have cicadas now even if trees flourished later “.

These bugs don’t migrate as confirmed by Susan Hargrove, a retired biologist from the Illinois Department of Transportation. They stay quite close to where they were born within few hundred yards.” If you live in an area free of a large number of cicadas, you would likely not face any issue.”

“They stay rooted for decades,” adds Hargrove. Most cicadas by now have already come out which brings us to how long will we still see them. “We expect the season to be over by late June depending on where you reside.” We typically experience their activities for about six weeks after they come out adds Athey.


The End

Illinois residents can expect these bugs to be gone by end June while nearing the end of this phenomenon. Even though these noisy beings play an integral part in our ecosystem, their buzzing can annoy some. Soon enough though, people will be able to breathe easy again.

Celina Brooks

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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