6 Interesting But Unsettling Facts About The Cicadas Coming to Illinois
If the pandemic didn't already seem like enough going on, how about a massive swarm of cicadas we haven't seen in 17 years?
You know those GIANT bugs you learn about in school that live underground and only come out every 17 years? Well, it's been 17 years.
It's been a while, you might've forgotten what these bugs are like. Here's some adjectives I'd use to describe them -
- Too many
Sure, when it's just one, it's not that bad. But get this, up to 1.5 million periodic cicadas from Brood X will pop up per acre in certain regions. And that’s on top of the annual cicadas that come out every summer. I don't think Northern Illinois will be THAT crazy. But I know it will be crazy enough to affect our summer.
So I went researching these things because I love Mother Nature, and I don't want to kill these bugs if they're beneficial for the earth. Here's what I found -
While it can be tempting to use pesticides on cicadas, there’s really no need. Treating yards to kill cicadas will result in an unnecessary application of pesticides to the environment and treating these insects directly may also sicken animals who then try to eat them. Also, cicadas are not venomous and do not transmit disease.
Also, do you remember how loud these things are? Let me remind you.
Here's 6 facts that made me want to crawl out of my skin about cicadas -
Cicadas drink the xylem fluid of trees as nourishment. That means they pee from their perch on trees too. The squirts of “cicada rain,” or “honey dew,” as it is called, are not harmful, but we’d suggest a wide-brimmed hat or jacket for any cicadas that might be overhead.
- It’s estimated that 1.5 million cicadas can emerge per single acre of land.
Cicada expert Gene Kritsky has recorded a cicada chorus at 96 decibels. “The average jet flying overhead was between 70 to 80 decibels,” says Kritsky, who is an entomologist and chair of biology at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. “The cicadas were drowning out the jets.”
- Cicadas sometimes confuse the vibrations of power tools with the vibrations of the males. As a result, males and female cicadas may swarm to you if you’re using power tools, lawn trimmers, leaf blowers, or mowers.
- A cicada cookbook from the University of Maryland can guide you through savory dishes and desserts, including cicada rhubarb pie. Be cautious if you have a shellfish allergy, though.
Adult cicadas emerge only to mate and die. Large numbers of rotting cicadas stink, so grab a rake and a shovel. Burying cicadas in a deep hole will remove the smell. Or, try composting their bodies. About six to 10 weeks after the cicadas die, the next generation hatches. The white nymphs will be the size of a grain of rice and will soon crawl back underground.
Okay, I'm done. I've got to go. I think I'm moving for the summer. I can't handle any of that.