Hopefully you don't mind more than a few cicada chirps this summer.

Hearing cicadas sing (or screech, depending on how you feel about it) is a staple of spring and summer nights. Cicadas can get pretty loud, with their mating calls reaching up to 100 decibels (a motorcycle going past you is 95 decibels), according to The RingerUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign says each cicada species has a unique sound it uses to avoid attracting the wrong kind of cicada.

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The Once-In-A-Lifetime Cicada "Brood" We're In For

Cicadas are divided into what's called "broods", which depend on the year and where the group of cicadas are living. Some broods are small and don't cover a large area, other broods are huge and can even span multiple states.

There is a brood in Illinois & Iowa called Brood XIII (the Northern Illinois brood) and this is the one that will take over the world. Or at least your eardrums.

This brood comes out every 17 years, but this year, it's synched with another brood that emerges every 13 years, which happens every 221 years, according to NBC News .

Coming Your Way May 2024

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Billions. Of. Cicadas. That's the forecast.

The Northern Illinois brood coming up in May has a reputation for being "the largest emergence of cicadas known anywhere", according to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

It's been a minute since we've seen the full emergence of this brood. A sub-brood of it came out in 2020. But the last time we saw the Northern Illinois cicada brood, people in Wisconsin and Illinois were reportedly using snow shovels to get cicadas off their yards, patios, driveways, and outdoor surfaces.

The full emergence of this brood was calculated to be about 1.5 million cicadas per acre in a floodplain near Chicago. Upland, they found about 133,000 cicadas per acre, which is much more normal of a number for cicadas. For reference, a city block is about 3.5 acres. 

What To Expect

When cicadas die, they stink. So prepare yourself for a stinky spring and summer. You'll likely be sweeping quite a few dead cicadas off of your porch and driveway. Also, experts say it's okay if your dog happens to eat a few cicadas but because of the bug's crunchy exoskeleton, don't let it become a staple in their diet.

So if you like the song of cicadas, get ready to listen to it on full blast once it warms up enough. If you can't stand it, put on some headphones.

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