Cicadas making historical appearance in Wisconsin | WBAY

APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) – Rare cicadas are starting to emerge across the country. You have a chance to check out this historical moment with two periodic broods coming out at the same time — but it won’t be easy.

Scientists report billions of cicadas will emerge. Some are calling it “Cicada-geddon” or “cicada-palooza.”

“It’s a strange phenomenon,” UW-Green Bay Professor Michael Draney explained. “There’s three thousand species of cicadas on the planet but there’s only seven of these periodic cicadas that live in Eastern North America.”

Bad news for bug lovers in Northeast Wisconsin. You have to travel to the very southern part of our state — south of Milwaukee and Madison — to see what’s called the Northern Illinois brood.

The Northern Illinois brood only comes out every 17 years. For the Great Southern brood, it emerges every 13 years.

“The clock ticks and they’re like, ‘Hey, it’s time to become an adult!’ They crawl out at sunset. They climb out of their baby shell. Their wings inflate. The next day you see cicadas!” Professor Draney said.

Both are popping out at the same time for the first time since 1803. For perspective, Thomas Jefferson was president; that’s the year he purchased the Louisiana Territory.

Draney said cicadas are basically trying to avoid predators by coming out all at once.

“The adults are kind of helpless against predators… if they just kind of came out every year they’d probably just get eaten but when they all come out all at once every 13 years it takes the predators by surprise and some of them survive.”

In our neighborhoods, Draney told Action 2 News it’s going to seem like a usual cicada summer.

“We do have cicadas in this area but they mostly actually emerge later in the summer. As you know, in August is when you hear the noise but it’s a different genus, different species, and it’s not happening here for us,” Draney said.

If you’re really interested, there are a few sweet locations around Illinois where both periodic cicadas are coming out at the same time.

“If it’s a good spot you can get thousands and thousands of these coming out in your backyard. Millions per acre. It can be really dramatic. It can make the roads slippery. It can be a real thing. Still, it’s very spotty.”

Just keep the pets at home.

“You have to actually be careful. Pet dogs can get a taste for cicadas, and they can get very sick because the shells of the cicadas — the exoskeletons — can cause a blockage if they eat way too many of them,” Draney explained.

Draney said the peak is likely the middle of this month into June, so the clock is ticking if you want to make the trek to check out this rare cicada emergence.

Source: Cicadas making historical appearance in Wisconsin

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