Feature Contributors

The Deafening Event of 2024

The title sounds almost scary, but truly it is not. 2024 is a special year in the realm of entomology. It is the year that two broods of cicadas emerge at the same time. The last time this happened in our area was in 1802 when Thomas Jefferson was President approximately 221 years ago.

No, this does not mean that cicadas are taking over the world. But there will be more cicadas visible at the same time, especially in Indiana and Illinois where these two broods overlap. The two Broods are Brood XIX, the Great Southern Brood, which emerges every 13 years and Brood XIII, the Northern Illinois Brood, which emerges every 17 years. During the great convergence of these two species of cicadas there will be literally millions of these guys all over trees, bushes, sidewalks and streets coming out to greet mates. The next time this event will happen will be in 2245.

Cicadas spend most of their lives in the soil just waiting to emerge. There is nothing really dangerous or damaging about these cicadas. You may see lots of cicada shell casings attached to trees, bushes, and buildings. The males are the only one of the species that even makes a noise, but when he does, he wants all the females to know that he is in the mood for courtship. In fact, a male can create a song reaching 100 decibels which is equitant to a lawnmower or sound of a subway train. 

Many think cicadas are locusts, and the terms are often used interchangeably. But our periodical cicadas here are NOT really locusts. A locust is a different insect that is closely related to the grasshopper. In Africa and other parts of the world, the locust can decimate crops and vegetation by Biblical proportions anything that is in their swath of movement. 

Here is the takeaway about the 2024 Cicada Event.

  1. Emergence happens when the soil temperature reaches about 60-65 degrees. (This is normally sometime in June or maybe July.)
  2. There will be temporary noise pollution for some and/or a wonderful sound of nature for others.
  3. Emergence will provide a protein rich food supply for many predators including birds which will then increase in population.
  4. Dead cicadas will provide nitrogen rich products which benefits our ecosystem.
  5. There will be a bunch of Cicadas. 

Enjoy this wonder of nature.