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They're very high in protein.

Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

Way back in the day, my sister-in-law, Judy, was visiting us from the L.A. area.  As usual, I was the dutiful brother-in-law and I picked her up at O'Hare airport, and brought her directly to our home on the north side of Chicago.

It was a beautiful spring afternoon, the sun was shining, there were Georgia O'Keeffe clouds in the sky, traffic wasn't too bad, and we had some good conversation in the car.  As usual, we had the air conditioning on in the car all the way home, and as we arrived in front of my house, my wife emerged from the front door to greet her sister.  Judy opened the car door and stepped briskly out of the car door and suddenly froze.  Her eyes went wide and she looked around as though she'd been attacked.

"What the heck is that!?" she asked looking around, left and right... she was reacting to the cacophony that we had become inured to over the last few weeks, as the latest brood of 17-year-cicadas had descended upon the Midwest and the Chicago area.  These were hideous looking cicadas, who hibernate underground years, or so only to emerge once every 17 years to mate for a few weeks, lay eggs and die, and then the cycle begins again.  Their mating call was so loud, you had to yell to be heard over it, it was like bazillions of crickets were "cricketing" at once... but significantly louder.

Well, the 17-year cycle is upon us again.  They are scheduled to arrive within a few weeks. But there is also a 13-year variety that will be coming out this year, too.  So instead of just the 17-year variety this year, we're going to have double the fun with the 13-year variety at the very same time.  The last time they emerged simultaneously was 1803... the same year that Fort Dearborn was constructed on the shores of Lake Michigan, (and I think my ex-mother-in-law was a teenager).

They are harmless, they don't bite or sting, but they are loud, with decibels reaching that of a lawnmower or a small jet engine.  They are fugly, and climb up vertical structures (like trees, and buildings) shed their exoskeletons and then they can fly... and with their red bug-eyes are truly gross.  Dogs and cats like to eat them (they're super high in protein) but oddly enough wives and girlfriends don't seem to like to get them caught in their hair (go figure). Husbands and boyfriends aren't overly fond of them either.  But my local carwash will love them.

Pesticides don't seem to have any impact, but they do make a satisfying crunch when you step on them or drive over the teeming hoardes.  I'd like to say that there will be millions of them, but in truth they will likely number in the beeelyons!  And the smell of decaying cicada carcasses when it's all over ... well... it's less than delightful.  Best bring your shovel.

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email: Almay@aol.com

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Oh yes, I remember the cicadas well. When living in NY we experienced them - and I remember my husband and a son went hiking during that time and the ground was covered with crunch bugs. Blech.

May 04, 2024 05:15 AM
Alan May

There's nothing like a good "crunching", is there?

May 04, 2024 09:50 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Alan. Was not here in Chicago the last time these bugs showed up. Luckily did not experience them in Florida. Sounds like it is not a good experience. Guessing I should purchase some car wash tickets! Enjoy your day.

May 04, 2024 05:26 AM
Wayne Martin

Alan May - wanted to "like" your comment but the Chihuahua was sitting on the button and kept kicking me off the site. It has happened on other posts this morning but not all.

May 04, 2024 05:29 AM
Alan May

Clearly the "like" button is malfunctioning this morning... as well as other buttons.  I seem unable to "reply" to Kat's comment (although I am able to reply to yours... go figure?!)

May 04, 2024 06:19 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Alan,

I grew up with cicadas living in upstate NY. The sound was so loud! You are getting a double dose this year, how long with this invasion take place?

May 04, 2024 06:54 AM
Alan May

It should show up in about 3 weeks, and they say it should last about 4-6 weeks.

May 04, 2024 09:51 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Alan, dogs think they are better than Halloween candy, and I'm afraid that if I leave Picco out back for more than a few minutes, he'll gorge himself to the point of needing a trip to the vet. Other than that, they seem pretty harmless. The noise is a little weird.

May 04, 2024 07:11 AM
Alan May

I know, apparently they are like canine candy.

May 04, 2024 09:51 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

We anticipate hearing them this spring in Maryland. I am sure we will even see some recipes but I have found the courage to eat them.

May 04, 2024 08:54 AM
Alan May

I have zero interest in trying any of the recipes going around.

May 04, 2024 09:52 AM
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® 240.593.2860 - Silver Spring, MD
Fluent in Real Estate & German, M.A. ABR ASP CIPS

Brood X emerged in Maryland 3 years ago, it was not fun! I prepared a listing at that time, talking to the landscapers, and staging the deck and they were in my hair, crawling up my legs EWWWWW. 

They are high in protein and can be grilled and turned into desserts. How does cicada-rhubarb pie sound? lol I wish I was kidding but there is an actual recipe for it and others: Cicada-licious. Umm. No, thank you! I'll pass. 

May 04, 2024 09:14 AM
Alan May

While I love rhubarb pie, I'll stick to the traditional strawberry-rhubarb variety.

May 04, 2024 09:53 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Get out the heavy-duty shop vac and take a walk around the yard.

May 04, 2024 01:10 PM
Alan May

OOOH....that's a good thought.

May 04, 2024 01:41 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Alan- this reminded me of 2004 when we moved to Leesburg, VA. Our agent told us to expect the cicadas because they were emerging that year. Our back deck overlooked the woods and yep...every night...there they were!!!

BTW- I think our squirrel ate one or something like it a few years ago. 

May 04, 2024 06:01 PM
Alan May

You have your own squirrel?

May 05, 2024 02:52 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

I remember driving to Charlotte from Philadelphia during the last birthing of cicadas and they were everywhere, hitting the windscreen and car. It was like a Hitchcock movie.

May 08, 2024 08:24 AM
Alan May

yep... a far less palatable version of "the Birds".

May 08, 2024 08:44 AM