There is a lot of talk about cicadas this year because throughout the Ohio valley and parts of the Northeastern United States the 17 year Cicada is getting ready to emerge in full force.
Now, this part can be a little confusing, but groups of cicadas that emerge together are referred to as a 'brood'. The brood that is emerging this year is 'brood 5'. The Chicago area is home to 'brood 13' which is scheduled to emerge next in 2024. There are a total of 15 different broods.
So, if that's the case, how come I hear cicadas every summer? Well, the 17 year cicadas are not the only kid on the block. There are also 13 year cicadas, and annual cicadas. Annual cicadas generally have a life span of 3-5 years.
And, please, do not call them 'locusts'! That's an entirely different beastie. Locusts are much more like a grasshopper.
One of the theories for that common misnomer is that when settlers came to America and experienced the periodical (13 or 17 yr) cicadas for the first time, the only thing they could compare it to was the plague of locusts from the Bible.
Here is a wonderful video showing what happens in the lifecycle of the 17yr Cicada.
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