There's been a lot going on since their last major visit here in Illinois, but try to remember back to May of 2007 if you can. That was the last time that Brood XIII, also known as Brood 13, or my personal favorite, Northern Illinois Brood, came popping out of the ground here in our area.

What's a brood? Good question.

The term "broods" refers to the year and geographical area where different cicada species emerge. Some broods are small and emerge within a limited area. Others are very large and pop up in the midst of, and across many states at about the same time. Regardless, there is a brood emerging somewhere every year.

Next May, those of us living in Northern Illinois, Southern Wisconsin, Eastern Iowa, and a little strip of Indiana, get the brood experience up close and personal.

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Probably wouldn't be doing this with murder hornets. (Getty Images)

How Many Cicadas Are We Going To Have To Deal With Next Spring? Well, The Northern Illinois Brood Has The Reputation Of Being The Largest Emergence Of Cicadas Known Anywhere

When the Northern Illinois Brood last emerged in 2007, there were news reports from both Illinois and Wisconsin that showed people using snow shovels to remove the cicadas from their yards, driveways, decks, and patios.

We're literally talking about potentially trillions of cicadas all gathered in a relatively small area of three states.

The northern Illinois brood, which will emerge in late May 2024, has a reputation for the largest emergence of cicadas known anywhere. This is due to the size of the emergence and the research and subsequent reporting over the years by entomologists Monte Lloyd and Henry Dybas at the Field Museum in Chicago. During the 1956 emergence, they counted an average of 311 nymphal emergence holes per square yard of ground in a forested floodplain near Chicago. This translates to 1½ million cicadas per acre. In upland sites, they recorded 27 emergence holes per square yard, translating to about 133,000 per acre. This number is more typical of emergence numbers but is still a tremendous number of insects. For comparison, a city block contains about 3½ acres.

Wall covered with cicadas
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Cicadas, No Matter The Brood, Don't Bite Or Sting, And Are Generally Not Dangerous To You Or Your Pets

However, you should be careful about letting your dog eat cicadas. I read a piece that talked about dogs digging in their yards right before a cicada emergence because they can hear the cicadas digging their way to the surface. Those same dogs also snacked on a few of the early arrivals.

“In most cases, your dog will be fine after eating a few cicadas,” says Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer for the AKC. “However, dogs that gorge on the large, crunchy insects will find the exoskeleton difficult to digest and can suffer serious consequences.”

According to Dr. Klein, aftereffects can include severe stomach upset and abdominal pain, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. Some dogs may require intravenous fluids, pain medications, gastroprotectants, or anti-nausea drugs.

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Gallery Credit: Andrea Vale

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