Cicada Hunters Report Record Season

It’s been nicknamed the Cicadalypse, Cicadageddon , Cicadarama. Cicahearinaboutit, and on and on.  Elsah and the rest of Southern Illinois are now immersed in song from periodical cicadas. Hefty and loud, the cicada is the Pavarotti of insects. 2024 is a big year for periodical cicadas in Illinois, where Broods XIII and XIX will be emerging throughout much of the state at the same time.  First time since 1803, and it won’t happen again until 2245.  So, mark your calendars. Cicadas don’t pose a threat to humans (or pets), although they can damage newly planted shrubs and small trees.  Brood XIX, also known as the Great Southern Brood, will emerge in the southern half of Illinois. The four species of cicadas in this brood are 13-year cicadas. The periodical cicada flies less than half a mile from where it emerges from the soil. Only 9 generations of 17-year periodical cicadas ago, Abraham Lincoln was practicing law in Illinois prior to the Civil War. During that time, periodical cicadas have spread only about 5 miles. Here in Elsah, many of the cicadas have gravitated to Grafton, where they seem to thrive in a wet culture. Particularly the Third Chute among others.

Like many insects, they are also edible and are consumed worldwide. According to the FAO (U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization) almost 80 % of the world’s population consumes insects as part of their diet. Seems like a prudent hedge against inflationary food prices. According to some cicada munchers, they have an almond-like taste and when microwaved create an almond aroma. They might even qualify for organic status and become the new cool food, kind of a creepy crawly acai berry. Maybe not a bad idea to capture a few hefty bag fulls and freeze them before Whole Foods gets wise; just sayin’.  Depending on location and the number of cicadas, it may get quite loud. According to the National Institutes of Health, calls of male cicadas can reach over 90 decibels. That is as loud as a lawnmower, motorcycle, or tractor. But just think about what a wonderfully quiet Autumn awaits us….