Millions of cicadas to come out all over Illinois

By WEEK Reporter

June 4, 2014 Updated Jun 19, 2014 at 3:24 PM CDT

SMITHFIELD, Ill. --Millions of noisy bugs could be coming to the Greater Peoria area for the first time in 17 years.

Iowan brood cicadas are periodical bugs that have been waiting to hatch since 1997. When they are all here most people cannot miss it.

"It sounds like when you turn on your TV--it's all fuzzy," said Smithfield resident Avonlea Strait. "It can get really loud."

"It's like a screeching sound," said Jacob Romine, another Smithfield resident.

These residents are describing the sounds of millions of Iowan brood cicadas coming to life in Illinois. They are already hatching in Smithfield.

"They haven't been out like this for years," said Smithfield resident Dee Wardell.

That is because this brood only hatches every 17 years---the female lays eggs in twigs and nymphs eventually grow underground.

"You're going to find holes hear the trees," said University of Illinois Extension Master Gardner Patricia Middleton. "They were born there, they lay their eggs there in the trees."

Once hatched these cicadas have one goal--to mate. They are not dangerous and they do not bite or sting.

"They do not have mouths to bite or stingers so they are completely safe and not harmful at all," said Middleton.

Peoria could see them as soon as July. Even without mouths, these bugs are loud in other ways.

"Some of them have really red eyes and weird-looking faces--they are creepy," said Strait.

However, not everyone is bugged out.

"I think I like them," said Wardell. "I like the sound of the cicadas."

"I think they're really cool," said Romine. "They only come out every 17 years. That's longer than most insects around here."

They are also edible. Cicadas are a good source of protein, and some people enjoy eating them. However, that is one aspect these residents agree on.

"I don't think they'd taste very good," laughed Wardell.

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