Cicadas

2024 Cicadas

Have you heard about the cicada party soon to take place in all of our back yards? Do you know why it’s a big deal, and what you need to do to prepare for it?

Ken Johnson’s recent blog post, “The cicadas are coming! Periodical cicadas in Illinois in 2024“, will give you the information you need.

Some Highlights

  • Brood XIII, the Northern Illinois Brood, will be emerging in our area in northern Illinois (as well as Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, and possibly Michigan.
  • This brood contains all three species of 17-year periodical cidadas.
  • The Great Southern Brood will be emerging at the same time, in the southern half of Illinois. The last time these broods emerged the same year was 1803, and it won’t happen again until 2245! 
  • There shouldn’t be much overlap of the two broods  in the same areas.
  • Cicadas do not bite or sting or otherwise harm humans.

How to Protect Trees and Shrubs

Cicadas lay their eggs in branches that are 2.5 inches or less in diameter. For larger trees this means some of the smaller branches may be damaged, but the cicadas won’t kill the trees. The risk is for younger trees that have small diameter trunks. Those trees could die from the cicada damage.

  • It is recommended not to plant new trees this spring. Sag Moraine will not be selling trees at our annual plant sale in June for this reason. Wait until fall, or spring of 2025.
  • Bag young trees (up to 10 feet tall) with netting having openings no larger than 1/4″. Secure the netting securely around the base.
  • Insecticides are not recommended as they are not as effective as netting. Also, birds will be feeding their young with the cicadas and could pass on any insecticide to the baby birds. Insecticides also harm pollinators.
  • Normal cicadas that appear every year do so from July to September. The Northern Illinois Brood will emerge in late May and June for about four weeks, so the time to prepare is now!

Four-Minute Video

Ken recently spoke to Sag Moraine about the periodical cicadas that will be emerging this year. The short recording is available below and on our YouTube channel. The video shows examples of trees that have been netted for protection.

Guten Appetit

Ken says we can eat cicadas (avoid them if you are allergic to shellfish). To be honest, I’m not excited about that prospect and think I’ll pass.

According to Wiki, the Northern Illinois Brood is reputed as the largest cicada emergence anywhere! Enjoy their love song. You won’t have another opportunity for a while.

Ken Johnson

Ken Johnson is the Horticulture Educator at the University of Illinois. His educational efforts focus on fruit and vegetable production, pest management, and beneficial insects. Through his programming efforts, he aims to increase backyard food production and foster a greater appreciation of insects. He is one of the authors of the Illinois Extension Good Growing Blog, and one of the Good Growing Podcast hosts.

Cicada photo credit: By Futureman1199 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26724690

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