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Periodical Cicadas are back this year… for some

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(WSIL) -- Many are expecting the famous 17-year Periodical Cicadas to reemerge this year as temperatures warm up, but not everyone will see them.

"I remember mostly the noise, um they are a noisy little critter."

Jennifer Randolph-Bollinger, the Natural Resources Coordinator at Giant City State Park, says she remembers the last time she experienced Periodical Cicadas that are expected for much of the eastern U.S. this spring.

She says most of southern Illinois will miss out on this year's brood, as they are the 17 year variant--- and not the 13 year that Southern Illinois typically sees, or hears.

"And so really in Illinois, we've only got about four or five counties that should be affected, and those are on the far eastern side, right next to Indiana."

Don't worry, we'll get our turn in 2024, the same year as our next total solar eclipse. Either way, they'll be very similar.

"They all have the red eye, and the orange wings, not to be confused with the annual cicadas that we see every year that are the greenish color."

They spend most of their life underground.

"When they are underground, they're going through metamorphosis, they're eating... They are a true bug, which means they have a piercing mouthpart."

They use that mouth, to extract sap from roots underground, something that may concern you if you have a garden above ground, but it shouldn't.

"They think that they're going to damage their garden plants, when in reality, they drink sap."

So trees are still fair game.

"They do do some damage to young trees, that's where they lay their eggs, in young tree branches, and tree branches... With older trees, it's not going to have a really profound effect. Some of the leaves might change colors, some of the smaller limbs might fall off, but it's really the younger trees that you have to worry about."

So what can you do if you plan on planting young trees this year? Not much, says Family Lawn Care's Greg Haub.

"Spray them off with a garden hose, you can have a pesticide put on, it's harmful to other animals and things like that. My best advice is probably just leave them alone, they'll go away."

Randolph-Bollinger says she also remembers local wildlife gaining weight the last time the brood emerged, adding that you should expect your pets to want to eat them too. She says they should be fine for your pets, but says YOU should cook them before ingesting them, if you're into that.

John Ross

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