Cicadas Illinois

Yes, cicadas are still emerging in Illinois. Here's how long it could last

While cicadas have already been spotted in massive amounts in parts of the region, some suburbs have seen little to none, but that could still change

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Cicadas are still emerging across the Chicago area and Illinois, experts said, and the emergence could still continue for several days.

While cicadas have already been spotted in massive amounts in parts of the region, some suburbs have seen little to none.

But whether that will continue remains to be seen.

Dr. Gene Kritsky, dean of Behavioral and Natural Sciences at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati who has been tracking the emergence across the U.S. and particularly in Illinois, said it takes about two weeks for cicadas to finish emerging.

"We have had three large emergences in parts of Chicago in the past week," Kritsky said. "There could be emerging cicadas for another 10 days."

Kritsky noted that numbers for cicadas emerging from the ground will decline over the next five days, but that won't mean an end to the noise or the sightings as cicadas will still need to live out their life cycles above ground.

"The adults will still be singing loudly until mid-June, and then dwindle down towards the end June," Kritsky said.

So where have they been seen most? What about least?

A cicada map that tracks spottings across the U.S. shows some of the highest sightings have been reported in suburbs west of Chicago, particularly near the Downers Grove area. The Oak Park area has also seen a higher number of sightings as well as some southern suburbs around the Palos Park and Park Forest areas and northern suburbs like Lake Forest and Highland Park.

Cicadas emerging in Northfield, Illinois, captured on May 19, 2024.

The map from Cicada Safari, an app created by Kritsky to track cicadas, allows residents and experts to submit photos of cicada sightings in their area. Once those images are verified by experts, the sighting is marked on the map.

But while several suburbs are reporting an influx of cicadas, some parts of the region have reported almost none, particularly in the northwest suburbs.

A large gap in the map shows no reports for areas like Elgin, Barrington, Huntley, Hoffman Estates and more. Some northern spots like Grayslake and Round Lake Beach have also not reported any sightings.

So why have some seen more than others?

Experts have long said the emergence would be patchy.

"You must bear in mind, they only emerge from under trees," Kritsky told NBC Chicago in February. "And so if you're in a wooded area, and they've already been laying eggs there, it could be quite dense indeed. But in many cases, we're finding these cicada emergences to be relatively patchy. Clear cutting of forests for agriculture, clear cutting of forests for urban development - all that reduces cicada egg laying sites."

Chicago has also previously warned that the emergence would likely be most visible in neighborhoods with older homes.

"New construction and soil excavation destroys cicada larva, and several 17-year cycles are required for them become reestablished, therefore communities with older homes may have more cicadas because the soil with the insect larva has been largely undisturbed," an advisory from the Department of Streets and Sanitation Bureau of Forestry said in an alert in April.

Cicadas in McHenry County. Photo credit: Lizz D.

The historic 2024 emergence involves two broods of cicadas - Brood XIII and Brood XIX - emerging simultaneously. Those two broods of 13-year and 17-year cicadas haven't emerged together in more than 220 years.

"This is like the year for Illinois," cicada expert Catherine Dana, an affiliate with the Illinois Natural History Survey, told NBC Chicago. "We are going to have cicadas emerging all over the state."

While much of Illinois will see at least one brood emerging, a narrow part of Central Illinois could see both. But there's no way to know for sure just by looking at the cicadas, Kritsky said. The only way to know will be to check the area in 13 and 17 years to see if cicadas from each brood emerge.

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