17 year cicadas

plant_nanny(z5KaneIL)April 20, 2007

The northern Illinois (Fox Valley) newspapers have been reporting that this spring will be the emergence of the 17 year cicadas. I have done a bit of research and have found that young trees will be damaged by the females sliting branches and laying eggs. However, I have not been able to find anything about damage to young shrubs or perennials. I had planned on creating a new woodland garden this spring and wonder if this should be postponed until next year. Has anyone found info about or has experienced perennial plant damage from the 17 year cicadas in other years? Any help would be appreciated.

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They will damage the new growth of young trees but it won't hurt the trees for the long term, and when I last went through a 17 year cicada cycle I didn't have any damage to perennials or shrubs. There are ways to protect your plants if you're really concerned but I wouldn't worry about it. The racket they make, however, will drive you silly :) and I was sweeping dead cicadas off the sidewalk for weeks. It's a cool natural cycle and kinda fun to experience but they are noisy!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 6:29AM
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We had them about 10 years ago. I don't remember any real damage. I do remember the noise and the drifts of cicada wings in the driveway from the birds pulling them off before eating the bugs.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 7:20AM
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Thank you Carol Ann and Theda-blue. I appreciate the response. The Chicago Tribune had a big article on these critters on April 22 in the Home & Garden section and one of their garden writers has a blog on the cicadas: Beth Bott's blog, the Chicago Gardener. If you like here's the URL chicagotribune.com then search for garden.
Plant Nanny

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 5:23PM
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Are the cicadas all over the Chicagoland area? I lived in Elmhurst in the 70s and developed a severe phobia of them because they were so bad then. I remember not being able to see out windowscreens because they were covered by dozens the bugs.

The next emergence I lived in a collar town near the city and there were none, thankfully.

NOW I am living in St. Charles, how bad are they there? Anyone?

When can we expect them to emerge? We are vacationing in Florida in the 2nd and 3rd weeks of June. Will we miss them?


    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 12:50PM
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From what I recall, the cicadas seemed to be worse more to the south. In the first bout during my lifetime, in McHenry there were a few, but they were hardly noticiable, whereas they were everywhere in clusters in the Hinsdale area. During the last visit, I was working in Elgin and living in Bartlett, which might provide a good comparison with St. Charles. They were there, more than in McHenry but less than in Hinsdale in the previous bout. I was not in either of those places the last time. So, I would conclude that Kane County gets it moderately, but not as bad as Du Page, but not as lightly as McHenry County. I hope that helps.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 3:27PM
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arrick(Z5b LaGrange IL)

From what I understand, the cicadas will be out in greater numbers where their soil has been undisturbed for the last 17 years. So in St. Charles where a large number of new subdivisions have been built within the last 20 years, I would not expect them to be out in very large numbers. With the last emergence, I was still growing up in Downers Grove - which had mostly been built up in the 70s - we had a handful of them but as you headed toward the city or anywhere with forest preserves, the swarms were thick and the noise was deafening. Now that I live in La Grange I hear I'm in for a fun few weeks!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 10:13AM
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From what I remember: (I am a west suburban born and raised)
Lagrange is Bad. Hinsdale bad. Elmhurst bad. Villa park bad. Oak Brook bad. Don't remember Berkeley being real bad.
I am wonder with all the teardowns in hinsdale and elmhurst since the last invasion how that will affect the cicada populations since the ground was disturbed.
I will weigh in once I find out here! I am SO dreading it as I am surrounded by forest preserve here in a very old part of town.
I tried to look on the web but I could not understand all the broods and sub-broods stuff very well.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 2:42PM
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anya_101(z5b central,IL)

Been seeing a few early ones around here already. Even found a couple newly emerged ones inside my greenhouse. Must be a sign of things to come here. And they are the "smaller, dark bodied, red eyed" ones.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 8:38AM
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gracie01(z5 IL)

17 years ago we had a drought; I remember this because I took pictures of the cracks in the yard. The cicadas were so loud it was deafening. They also killed a young redbud tree in my yard. The females slit the bark to lay her eggs. Oh, by the way, I am just south of Chicago.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 11:46AM
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I have a question...I've noticed tiny holes in the soil in my yard..this started a couple wks ago..(when I noticed) They're about the size of a little finger..is this where cicadas live? Is there anything I can do to rid them?
One other thing..I place tropical plants outside in summer..will they devour my plants..many are citrus trees. I live in the sw burbs of Chicago, next door to LaGrange..Thanks, Toni

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 6:40PM
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Yes, they could very well be where the larva has come up to molt into their adult stage. The adult cicadas don't actually eat anything! They live for a few days, make alot of noise, mate, lay their eggs and die. The females make slits in the bark and roots of trees to lay their eggs and the larva live in the ground for years (that's why there are cycles) sucking the sap of your trees. This is what causes the damage. The common dog day cicada's(the green ones) larva take 4 years to mature so there is always a brood of them in the summer but the 17 year cicada's(red and black) cycle is so long that we really notice each brood.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 7:34AM
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Thanks, Theda..Do you know the story about locusts?
When I lived in the city, I never heard of cicadas..It was only after moving to the burbs did I hear of them.
But in Chicago, I remember ppl remarking about locusts, (live in trees) making an appearance every 7 yrs..Thanks, Toni

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 9:26PM
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None in st. charles so far. I am wondering if we will get any, we are in an area completely surrounded by forest preserve here too.

They are being seen in Elmhurst, Lombard, Geneva, Elburn, and Countryside that I have had reports of.

Where are you and do you see them yet? Please report!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 10:04AM
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I'm in Brookfield, and yes we've seen some..but you have to look for them..They're not on the loose, yet, where they fly around looking for a mate. LOL.
Of what I read, usually after it warms up and we get a rain do they suddenly pop out of those holes. We had rain this morning, quite a bit in fact, but the temps are back down in the 50's..Toni

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 3:43PM
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I have seen or heard any here in Barrington. We've had new construction on 3 sides here in the past 17 years.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 6:57PM
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Since yesterday, I've only seen maybe 30 of the live bugs, but hundreds of their discarded shells. Where do the live ones go? Are they all in the trees already? I haven't heard their singing yet.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 11:23PM
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Anitamo, since you last posted May 27th, things could have changed drastically in that 5 day period..
Here in Brookfield, they're out and about..they took their time coming up from the ground this year, but now they're everywhere..chirping away..sounds like the jungles..LOL
Many are on tree trunks, while others flying around..I imagine they sleep on trees at night..they're quiet once the sun sets. They started chirping about 5am this morning, woke me up..lol..You'll see them all right..they're huge..2+". While flying around they resemble hummingbirds as far as size goes.
If you don't hear them singing, then your area has few, whereas here in Brookfield, sounds like zillions. In fact, while walking in the yard yesterday, I had to watch where I walked because there are so many lying on the ground..I don't know why they do this..you'd think they'd fly around constantly, after being jailed underground for 17 yrs..lol..Toni

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 4:35PM
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We moved to Chicago in 2001, and the first time I heard Cicaidas was at a friend's house in Oak Park maybe 2005. Their frequency really bothers me (I'm a musician *and* get migraines). We moved 2 hours west last year and got to "enjoy" the cicaidas here. There was an evening where I went out and yelled at the cicaidas. They only buzzed louder. And I think they're icky with those big bug eyes hanging on our screen porch and the carcasses all over. YUCK!

I'm probably here for the long haul - any advice for getting over my aversion?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 8:59AM
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Kter, I am one who fears insects..especially spiders..nothing will help that fear.
Thank goodness Cicadas come around every 17 yrs..I'm thinking when you were in Oak Park, you heard locusts, though there was a problem a while back, (can't recall which yr) where cicadas came up early..but don't know if this happened in IL. Anyway, though I fear cicadas, I know they don't bite, or attack, but they're huge..even though, when they first started digging their way up, I tried convincing myself not to fear them...easier said than done..I will go near them but still hesitant picking one up..the other night, I heard a loud chirp in my house..thought and hoped it was coming from the side yard..nope..the thing got IN my house..went directly to front plant room..It was chirping away and LOUD. I couldn't do it, had no luck lifting it and taking it outside..so got dh to do it..LOL..
But unlike a big, thick-legged spider, which I run from, I have convinced myself not to do this w/cicadas.
As far as suffering migranes, well, can't help you there..that's odd,especially since you're a musician. You would think the sound wouldn't disturb you..I have noticed cicadadas have quieted down the last couple days..don't know if it's the chilly weather, or what..wonder if they're dying...STill there will be thousands of shells over the walks..yuck..Toni

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 4:10PM
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hopefulauthor, locusts are actually grasshoppers. So when you hear about a swarm of locusts devoring crops it's a plague of grasshoppers. For some reason Americans have taken to calling cicadas locusts and locusts "grasshoppers" giving rise to alot of missinfo. about the bugs.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 3:11PM
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anya_101(z5b central,IL)

Just a pic of what they looked like here one week ago, in East Peoria. All my plants were covered for several days. A lot have done bred, deposited their eggs under the bark of trees and are dying off but millions are still around to date.

Here is a link that might be useful: cicadas

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 11:19PM
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Hi -- I have just checked in for the latest responses and to report that here in Geneva and elsewhere in the Fox River valley the cicadas are almost non existent! I was in Elmhurst on Sunday, 6-10 and the numbers there were staggering! The sound of them singing was deafening and I was glad to come back to cicada-quiet Geneva. My neighbors have unveiled their newly planted trees and shrubs which seems to imply that they have given up. I'll wait a bit before I unveil my 2 year old crab apple. I have to admit that I am a bit disappointed to not experience this natural occurance. However, I can drive into Elmhurst again and get my fill second hand! Thanks for all of the responses! This forum is great!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 10:35PM
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There were a good number of cicadas in the parking lot & woods at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe when I was there on June 1st. No cicadas in Barrington or the northern part of Arlington Heights.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 2:15PM
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I'm in McHenry County and didn't see any cicadas when they first came out in early June. But my joy was short lived 'cause we have them now! My husband said that we had a whole bunch of them in a our trees - we have quite a few crabapples. I just got back home from traveling and happened to be inside looking out into in our yard when I saw a cicada fly right onto our deck furniture - the table umbrella to be exact. I have to admit that I'm scared of them and will probably yell my little girly scream should anyone of these buggers land on me!! :-) Okay,, now here's the hard part of all of this. I'm a huge gardener. Its my form of relaxation on the weekends, but now with those ugly bugs, I'm too afraid to garden. Darn! There goes the Summer gardening season..Oh, well...

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 8:03PM
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My niece informed me that there are large #s of cicadas in 2 neighborhoods in Prospect Hts.
Bellarosa - what part of McHenry County are you in? We never had many in McHenry. Don't worry about the cicadas ruining your summer - they'll die off in a couple of weeks.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 12:23PM
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Update - my nephew said the cicadas were bad in McHenry this year! I guess they finally made their way out there.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2007 at 1:06PM
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carterobrien(5, Chicago)

I had one (just one!) cicada on my screen door in Chicago (Belmont/Kimball) last weekend, I think he must have been lost though...

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 2:10PM
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Well, the worse is basically over..I wonder how many trees were ruined by these guys..
Anya, how did your plant survive? I've never seen so many cicadas on one plant..geesh..
They've really cut back..mostly empty shells left..another 17 yrs..Toni

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 9:40PM
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anya_101(z5b central,IL)

Hi Toni,
Yea, the plant is not looking good at all, but that was what most all the plants looked like here. Thinking I need to cut it back for this year, as it isn't going to bloom.

The past few days of heavy storms here finnished them off. Seems so quiet now, but really starting to show in all the trees around here, where they have cut into branches. Got small branches laying all over the ground and many dead branches hanging in the trees.

Thank goodness they only come about every 17 years!!
I saw a regular big green one yesterday in back yard on a sapling. Told him how nice it was to see him instead of the others for awhile. LOL

I had more than my share of them. Ingorant things have the whole sky to fly around in yet could still manage to light on my neck from across the yard, every time I stepped outside! Couldn't stand sitting out side for long, but now I can again. : )

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 12:08AM
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We had none in st. charles illinois

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 12:40PM
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