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Cicadas May Be Emerging Earlier Due To Climate Change

By CBS 2 meteorologist Tammie Souza

Parts of the area are preparing to hear that loud buzz saw noise from the 17-year "Brood X" cicadas and it is expected to happen earlier than past years due to spring-time air and soil temperatures that have increased several degrees over the past 50 years.

According to CBS 2 meteorologist Tammie Souza, since 1970 the average emergence date of cicadas is days and weeks earlier from the Midwest to the east coast.

Brood X Cicadasa USA
(Credit: CBS 2)

In Chicago they arrive four days earlier and in South Bend, Indiana they arrive seven days earlier and in many areas along the east coast and deep south the cicadas are seen nearly a month earlier than 50 years ago.

Annually we see small numbers of green and black cicadas, but this year will be different as the extremely loud and tree-damaging Brood X emerges for the first time since 2004.

(Credit: CBS)


Brood X is spread across the eastern United States including parts of the Kankakee River Valley and Northwest Indiana while most of northern Illinois will remain clear of them.

Here in Chicago, we are bracing for the Brood Xlll (AKA Brood 13) arrival in 2024. It is the largest emergence group in the nation and was last seen in 2007. Along with a loud mating call of nearly 100 decibels there was also widespread damage to young trees that year.

In 2020 there was a small pre-emergence or acceleration of the Brood Xlll across Chicago. This can occur several years prior to and following a major 17-year emergence.

(Credit: CBS)

Why it happens is still a mystery and whether it becomes a new 17-year brood will not be known until 2037.

Typically, the 17-year cicadas emerge after a rainy period with a ground temperature in the low 60's. Both the Brood X and Brood Xlll 17-year cicadas are 1-2" long, have bulging red eyes and black wings with yellowish veins.

They have been hibernating up to 18" underground and feeding on tree roots until triggered to burrow out of their holes, shed their shells in favor of wings, and climb the nearest tree where they will lay eggs inside the bark.

Thousands of cicadas can emerge in a single yard, but millions of them are possible in a single acre of undeveloped land in forests, fields, and marshes.

(Credit CBS)

There are twelve different 17-year broods of cicadas east of the Rockies and three 13- year broods.

So, what can you do to get rid of them?

The non-chemical way is to use the water hose to spray them off plants and trees and/or wrap tree trunks with netting so they can't climb to lay eggs.

Of course, you can always wait for them to complete their noisy 4-8 week life cycle.

Philly Cicadas
(Credit: CBS 2)

Statistics: courtesy Climate Central

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