Cicada Symphony: Nature’s Chorus

2024 is a historic year for cicada enthusiasts. Even if you’re not fond of cicadas, you might have questions about why this year is special and how it could affect you.

There are two types of cicadas: annual and periodical. Annual cicadas turn up every year, including this year. They should emerge later in the summer. Periodical cicadas emerge in broods on either a 13- or 17-year cycle in the late spring. This year is special because both a 13- and a 17-year brood will emerge in the same year. Luckily, the ranges for the broods of each cycle are different—this means that Southern Illinois will see one brood, and Northern Illinois will see the other. We should not see double the usual amount of cicadas emerge in our area.

Although they are very numerous so their mating songs will be very loud, cicadas are not dangerous to people or pets; they’re even edible! You may have heard about a fungus that infects cicadas that they spread to each other—Popular Science says that the fungus cannot infect humans or pets, but that it might be toxic if you eat the fungus.

Trees and other plants should be resilient enough to survive the large amount of cicadas. According to the Chicago Botanic Garden, “Adult cicadas can damage small tree branches and feed on plant leaves, but most trees will tolerate the damage without a problem, and the leaf damage is very minor.” This is due to the way cicadas lay their eggs. Only small or young trees and shrubs could suffer more damage. The Morton Arboretum says you can protect young trees by “[wrapping] their branches in fine-mesh netting before early May. Tulle–the nylon or polyester mesh used to make ballerina tutus, sold in fabric and some hobby stores–works well.”

If you want more information, check out these articles and attend one of the programs listed below. Fair warning—there are plenty of pictures of cicadas at these events and links!

Buzz Worthy Events

Cicada Celebration (all ages w/adult)
Wednesday, May 22, 7-8 PM • Community Room, opens a new window

Cicada Summer (all ages w/adult)
Tuesday, June 4, 10-11 AM • Community Room, opens a new window

Check out some more cicada events happening at The Grove!, opens a new window

Don’t be a Hate-a of the Cicada: Learn More About Them!

About the Broods and the Fungus

Book Lists

Invasion of the Cicadas!

List created by GPL_Adult

Are you ready for the cicada invasion? Maybe you are looking forward to it? Here are some titles about other invasions that will make your skin crawl.

View Full List

The Buzz About Cicadas

List created by GPL_Youth

Stories and facts about our special insect friends which we only get to see every 17 years.

View Full List