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What's the deal with the swarm of cicadas coming to Chicago?

Cicada-geddon is almost upon us. Here's what to do when the insects emerge in Illinois.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

We've survived the solar eclipse and now it's time to turn our attention to the next natural event that's bound to keep us up at night: An explosion of cicadas that are predicted to hit the majority of Illinois this summer. 

First things first: Cicadas are insects that emerge every year and usually feed on sap. Although they don't really bite or sting humans, they may sometimes mistake a person's arm for food and try to feed. Perhaps most commonly known is the fact that cicadas (male ones, to be precise) produce loud calls that we usually hear clearly on summer nights.

Although cicadas are seen across the state each summer, this year's emergence has been declared a "once in a lifetime" occurrence involving two different broods of the species that will emerge at the same time. This sort of thing has not happened since 1803. 

Rejoice at the billions of cicadas that will call Illinois their home next season!

When are the cicadas emerging in Chicago?

According to experts, cicadas hide underground and come up for air when the temperature reaches about 64 degrees.

The city just issued an official advisory, warning residents that they might start seeing the pests as early as the end of this month and as late as early June. The cicadas will likely hang out for a month or so. 

Where are the cicadas going to be?

According to NBC, the Northern Illinois Brood will "be the most prominent in the Chicago area for the upcoming emergency." The Great Southern Brood, on the other hand, will likely still show up in Illinois but be more widespread. 

What should we do when we see a cicada in Chicago?

Overall, there is nothing to panic about when cicada-geddon finally impacts us.

Not only are the pests relatively harmless to humans but they also play an important role in our ecosystem—so don't even think about using any insecticide on them.

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