One of the things I had not thought about before relocating my family from California to Missouri was the huge amount of bugs we’ll be dealing with this spring. I figured hey, bugs are kind of normal, so we’ll be fine.
Well, 2024 is supposed to be a cicada double brood reemergence…so, whoops I guess?
What this means is two broods, that reemerge annually every 13 and 17 years, are going to be coming out of the ground at the same time. Luckily, they are located in different geographical areas, so they won’t be fighting for territory. But it does mean scientists are estimating billions- even trillions- of cicadas this year.
They will stay out for about four weeks. Which is just long enough to lay eggs in trees then die, leaving the new brood to fall and burrow into the ground, where they will gestate for over a decade. Periodical cicadas spend most of their lives underground, as nymphs. (Not the cool Greek Mythology kind.) To survive, the nymphs feed off the sap of tree roots- which can be deadly for young trees.
Where will they be?
Starting in late April, Brood XIII (the Northern Illinois Brood, with a 17-year life cycle) and Brood XIX (the Great Southern Brood, with a 13-year cycle) will emerge from underground in the Midwest and Southeast.
The different Cicada broods will not overlap, so you won’t have to deal with double-the-insects in any one area. Theoretically. They’ll just be more widespread, making it so the amount of land they cover is increased.
Can I prevent Cicadas from coming in my yard?
The short answer is not really? But there are some things you can do to deter them from laying eggs in trees in your yard. First, don’t plant any new trees until AFTER the emergence. New trees won’t stand a chance against the hungry nymphs. Secondly, using essential oils seem to be the general consensus among Midwesterners. Here’s a short list of what you can do to protect your yard.
- Water – Use the gardening hose to spray them off of trees and other plants you don’t want them infesting.
- Pesticides – though many don’t like using them because they will kill other good bugs.
- Essential oils – pack a spray bottle with water and oil like peppermint or spearmint.
- Birds – let the birds do their job and let them eat up the many many cicadas coming this year.
You could probably swat them away with a tennis racket (I’m totally getting one), and keep them away from your door and windows.
This is the first time that these two have emerged together since 1803, which is crazy! I suppose we should count ourselves lucky to see this in our lifetime. This happens less often than when Haley’s Comet passes by Earth. So, get your cameras ready to document the massive amount of cicadas that will emerge. And maybe invest in some earplugs so that you can sleep at night- these suckers are LOUD.