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Get ready for the cicada invasion: What you need to know before they swarm Wisconsin

Get ready for the cicada invasion: What you need to know before they swarm Wisconsin
Posted at 5:16 PM, May 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-03 18:16:36-04
  • Cicada Invasion Alert: Parts of Wisconsin set to be overrun by noisy cicadas.
  • As many as a million cicadas on an acre of land
  • UWGB professor offers warning to pet owners

You may have heard the buzz about the mass emergence of cicadas coming to parts of Wisconsin, but if you're braving one of the invasion zones this spring, here are a few things you need to know.

These noisy insects are set to invade parts of Wisconsin in the coming weeks, with its peak likely arriving mid-month. The invasion marks the arrival of not one but two rare broods of periodical cicadas. This mass emergence was last observed 221 years, long before Wisconsin became a state.

We spoke with Professor Michael L. Draney, a Biology Professor at UW Green Bay. According to Dr. Draney, this year marks the convergence of two distinct broods, with a 13 and 17-year cycle. The result: "You can get more than a million of them emerging on an acre of land so you can easily have 1000s and 1000s of them in your backyard. If you're in the right spot," says Dr. Draney.

Experts say the best place to view the emergence in Wisconsin will likely be around the Lake Geneva area and further south to Illinois. You can check out this map from the U.S. Forrest Service.

To prepare for the invasion, Dr. Draney shared some facts about cicadas:

  • Cicadas employ a mass emergency survival strategy, outnumbering predators with their sheer numbers.
  • Contrary to popular belief, cicadas don't fly around but instead coat trees and vegetation.
  • Their buzzing can reach over 90 decibels, equivalent to the noise of a lawnmower or hairdryer.
  • While considered harmless to humans, cicadas can pose a risk to young trees and pets, with their crunchy shells potentially causing digestive issues if ingested.

Despite their harmless reputation, Professor Draney offers a word of caution.
“If you pick one up, they do have mouthparts that can pierce into plant stem, and they can jab you with that so don't just pick it up and expect that you're not gonna get bitten.”