Cicada Season 2024: FAQs for Chicagoland’s Plant Lovers

Cicadas 2024

Chicagoland is buzzing about the forthcoming cicada emergence in May and June of this year. Two broods of these periodical insects are set to hatch at the same time in certain parts of Illinois! Here’s everything you need to know to prepare your outdoor spaces.

Q: Will the cicadas be everywhere?

A: The periodical cicadas will only be present in areas with older mature trees that have had the cicadas 17 years ago. Areas with new construction where older trees have been removed will have little to no presence of the periodical cicadas.

Q: Will we have 2 broods of cicadas in the Chicagoland area?

A: No. Chicagoland area will only experience one brood (XIII). Only the areas in downstate Illinois will be experiencing the overlap of 2 broods (XIII and XIX).

Q: Do the periodical cicadas eat annuals and perennials?

A: No. The emerging adult cicadas may feed on leaves of trees and shrubs, but nothing that will be severe or noticeable.

The periodical cicada’s short time above ground will be spent looking for a mate.

Q: Do the periodical cicadas kill the trees and shrubs?

A: No! Here is what happens:   The female periodic cicadas will lay their eggs in branches that are 1/8th of an inch to just under ½ of an inch in diameter of trees and large shrubs.  It will look like little sawed open areas in a line along the branch.  Larger older, trees and shrubs need no protection from this activity.

Q: How can I protect my young trees and shrubs?

A: Young trees and shrubs with branches this size can be protected with a netting with holes no larger than 3/4 of an inch.

Protective netting can be placed over the tree or shrub and secured around the trunk just beneath the lowest branches.

Cicadas do not choose evergreens to lay their eggs.

Q: Which insecticides can I use to kill the periodical cicadas?

A: Insecticides should not be used as none will work and can cause more harm and expense.


To learn more, visit the University of Illinois Urban-Champaign’s website.