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Cicada hatch to make for noisy western Illinois

Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 11:17 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 11:20 p.m. CDT

GALESBURG – Late spring is about to get a whole lot noisier in western Illinois, and the fish may not bite for a while, either.

That’s because a huge crop of cicada eggs laid 17 years ago are about to become loud, buzzing insects, University of Illinois Extension entomologist Phil Nixon says.

Nixon told the Galesburg Register-Mail the noisy insects should start emerging this weekend.

“The cicadas will come out and males will sing to attract females for two to three weeks,” Nixon said. “Normally, they sing during the day when it’s sunny out.”

The 17-year hatch of cicadas should be most noticeable in western Illinois, Missouri and southeastern Iowa.

The bugs’ buzzing sound will be tough to get away from, he said.

After they mate, the males will die while the female cicadas will live another few weeks, long enough to lay eggs that will themselves hatch as nymphs, fall to the ground and burrow in for another 17-year wait. The next 17-year cicada crop will be in 2031.

The cicadas about to emerge will also bring with them a range of interesting effects.

“Fish won’t bite this time of year because they’re stuffed with cicadas that die and fall onto the water; insect-eating birds will have more young; there will be more white-footed mice and deer mice because there will be gobs of food,” he said. “But they’ll starve to death next year or the year after because that food source won’t be there anymore.”

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