Illinois is in an uproar, but there are no cicadas in Bloomington-Normal

Illinois is in an uproar, but there are no cicadas in Bloomington-Normal

So it hasn’t happened, at least not in my own inner ear channels.

You know, “Buzz, buzz, buzz.”

Yes, those supposed billions of cicadas.

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Cicadas cling to a tree and come out of their shells in Naperville.


For months, their arrival has been hyped, warned, heralded, of two periodic broods merging to create our biggest cicada plague in 221 years, since 1803. That’s even before Abraham Lincoln, the Louisiana Purchase and a line in Chick-fil. -TO.

Websites have been created (Cicada Mania, Cicada Safari, Illinois Cicada Watch).

Stores sell special nets for cicadas.

We’re told that male cicadas come to hang out in our trees, sound their nightly sirens while looking for a date to, you know, get to know each other, maybe swap stories of favorite soil samples, and then mate beforehand. returning to the ground until the late 2030s. (Sorry for being so graphic, but sometimes it’s necessary.)

People are also reading…

Where are they? I haven’t heard any.

They always are, for the summer.

Bill Flick - Mug


Poets talk about the tranquility of winter snow, or the spring sounds of nature coming to life, or the pleasant sounds of autumn, the soft rustling of leaves, or the sound of a distant train, or the tuba of a marching band on a Friday night. .

The hum of herbivores and the moan of grass blowers shaking the sidewalks.

Someone in the neighborhood set off those fireworks too soon.

The garbage man, on his morning rounds.

Crows cawing just after dawn.

The beep-beep-beep of construction trucks backing up.

“Like secondhand smoke, all the summer noise can affect people and…eventually affect our hearing,” says Deb Pitcher, a longtime Twin City audiologist. “There is also that ‘annoyance effect’. Studies have confirmed that excessive noise increases blood pressure and heart rate.”

Then, with a foreboding, he adds one more sentence:

“And cicadas ‘singing’ at the same time have been recorded at over 90 decibels; in fact, they can be deafening.”

Many areas of Illinois are already reporting rampant encroachment.

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Cicadas cover a bush near Charleston.


In Lincoln, in Kickapoo Park, a video circulating on the Internet shows trees and bushes literally saturated with bug-eyed, alien-looking insects.

A photograph taken in Rochester, southeast of Springfield, shows a tree that is so covered it can barely be seen.

They are, Facebook people say, buzzing around Lake Bloomington and Lake Evergreen.

At the Illinois High School Association state track meet in Charleston, competitors literally had to shake off their cicadas before running.

A niece from Naperville sent us a video/audio clip this week of her own cicada concert and the deafening buzz that blankets the western suburbs.

“It’s so noisy here all day,” he says, “I don’t even hear it anymore. “We have disconnected it.”

And yet, Bloomington-Normal?

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“If you don’t see any cicadas in your area by now, you probably won’t see them,” says Chris Dietrich, Ph.D. in etymology and considered by many to be Illinois’ leading authority on the subject, as a member of the Illinois Natural History Survey at the University of Illinois.

“The surge,” he says, “is in full swing in other parts of Illinois. “They are mostly restricted to areas with mature forests that have been there continuously for many decades… in other words, not in agricultural areas or areas that are historically grasslands or wetlands.”

For those looking forward to a trifecta here this spring (first the solar eclipse, then the northern lights, then the cicada invasion), it might just be a couple in BN.

“There are,” Dietrich says, “good populations of 17-year-old cicada hatchlings (Brood XIII) north of Bloomington-Normal along the Mackinaw River. So I encourage your readers to drive a little north of the city to get the full cicada experience.”

Yes, you heard it here first.

Although apparently we don’t hear it.

Consolation: during those annual “dog days” of summer, at the end of July, there will be, Dietrich assures, the old locusts buzzing and buzzing for us for a few weeks.

This time-lapse video from JG-TC’s Herm Meadows shows a cicada molting recently in Charleston.


Bill Flick is at [email protected].