Cicada emergence begins in parts of Chicago area, mostly bugging suburbs: 'Don't be alarmed'

Cicadas have arrived in some Chicago suburbs, including Park Ridge

Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Cicadas are here, and bugging mostly suburban residents
Say hello to our little friends! The 2024 cicada double brood emergence in Illnois has begun, and is mostly bugging suburban residents to start.

PARK RIDGE, Ill. (WLS) -- Cicadas have arrived in some Chicago suburbs, including Park Ridge.

They are all over the trees and the ground.

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Residents said they started to see them come out over the weekend.

They haven't been bugging people too much, yet.

SEE MORE: ABC7 Chicago Cicada-Cast 2024 breaks down latest on Illinois emergence

A molting cicada was caught on camera in a time-lapse video in Buffalo Grove.

The 17-year cicadas are emerging from their underground homes and covering large trees, much to the delight of children.

"I've been seeing a lot of them on the ground, doing some gardening, seeing them coming up then. And my kids are really enjoying them," Park Ridge resident Christina Cosgrove said.

Billions or even trillions of cicadas are expected, coming out from their long-time homes right now.

They're just big, dumb and ugly; there is not much you can do about it
Emmy Buckley

"We are OK with them. We're animal nerds and everything, and it's just another activity for the kids to play with. So, they're catching them and putting them in their little container, and walking around in the backyard and then releasing them again," Park Ridge resident Nikki Allen said.

The 17-year and 13-year cicadas are overlapping in some areas downstate.

Show us your videos of cicadas in the Chicago area

"Soil temperatures has to be 64 degrees. So, here in Park Ridge, we've had 64 in many areas for the past three or four days. So, as the soil warms and stays consistent, they will keep popping up every day," said Joel Reiser, with Illinois Cicada Watch.

Reiser, who started the Illinois Cicada Watch Facebook group, said the emergence is ramping up quickly, and will eventually peak.

"People should know they are harmless. It's all about Mother Nature. They feed animals. They feed birds, also nutrients for the ground. Don't be alarmed. They don't bite," Reiser said.

Like the cicadas, Reiser's followers keep emerging.

"Ever since they've been here and coming out it's grown to almost 28,000 to this point right now," he said.

And there's no need for earplugs just yet. Residents said they're not loud now.

RELATED: Field Museum explains loud noise of cicada calls amid Illinois emergence

The birds have been feasting on them, and some people say they're considering the same.

"Some people were screenshotting the popcorn cicadas, and I think that's a texture that I can try. If I see it, and, if it was offered, I think I would try it, if there was a good sauce with it," Allen said.

As she whacked the weeds from her front lawn, Gail King tried to dodge the invasion.

"I'm astonished to see how much has come up," said King, a Park Ridge resident.

With dozens of holes in the soil, cicadas have come up and landed in King's trees, grass, ground and sidewalk. Park Ridge residents started noticing the red-eyed winged bugs Sunday.

"My one biggest tree, there are hundreds of them crawling up," Park Ridge resident Nancy Kwasigroch said.

But, Kwasigroch's smaller tree is being protected from the annoying critters. She and her neighbor, Cathy Meyer, are using netting to protect their trees that are 2 inches in diameter. Meyer is convinced 17 years ago, cicadas stunted the growth of another tree.

"That tree never grew really great, so wanted to protect them," Meyer said.

Some 18-year-old recent high school graduates were too young to remember the last time 17-year cicadas made an appearance. The teens are already sick of them.

"I feel like I'm crunching with every step. They are crawling. Then, you have the shells they are emerging out of: It's yucky," Park Ridge resident Ivy Suh said.

"They're just big, dumb and ugly; there is not much you can do about it," Park Ridge resident Emmy Buckley said.

The cicadas have a life cycle of about four to six weeks.

And they're likely to remain visible through June.

Some were getting a head start Monday. The insects were all over trees and headstones at a Niles cemetery.