They are Coming… 2024 Cicada Invasion!

They are Coming… 2024 Cicada Invasion!

If you’ve ever heard a shrill, trilling noise or a high-pitched buzzing sound in late spring or early summer, it might have been a cicada! Odds are you’ve heard one or two of these creatures sing their cicada song (annual cicadas), but less frequent is the stunning orchestra of hundreds of cicadas (periodical cicadas) all singing their song at the same time!

According to cicada researchers, biologists, and bug experts (formally known as entomologists), 2024 is going to be a wild year for cicadas. In addition to the annual cicadas we’re accustomed to, two huge broods of periodical cicadas will rise from the ground at the same time and make quite the ruckus!

Our art team at the ADG store thinks cicadas are endearing (if a little freaky, silly, and annoying). Not only do we keep tabs on cicada movements, but we also created a fun, vintage art collection to commemorate the noisy buggers. This collection also celebrates and documents our collective efforts to survive the inevitable cicada swarm!

Sing, Fly, Mate, Die

Sing. Fly. Mate. Die. That’s the mantra of the cicada bug. And as funky as their lifestyle is, the creatures are even funkier! These flying insects have prominent eyes set far apart, not unlike a hammerhead shark. The creatures have short antennae and partially see-through wings. Cicadas are best known for their shrill sound, caused by the rapid buckling and unbuckling of the insect’s drum-like tymbal (a part of the cicada’s exoskeleton).

The cicada’s odd lifestyle gives rise to the “Sing. Fly. Mate. Die.” mantra. Cicadas spend several years underground. They sleep, tunnel, feed on roots and twigs, and form colonies. Then, in unison, the creatures come pouring out of burrowed holes in the earth, taking flight into the air and settling in trees.

Once above ground, cicada males emit shrill cries to attract mates. The females lay their eggs in slits made in tree bark, leaving the eggs behind so they can hatch later. Shortly after cicadas mate and lay eggs, the adults die off. The eggs hatch soon after, cicada nymphs (newly born cicadas) make their way down to the ground, burrow into the earth, and begin a new life cycle.

Certain breeds of cicadas are unique because, while they may spend well over a decade underground, once they emerge, they only live for a few weeks before they die off. From underground dwellers to high-flying, music making, mating party animals, the cicada’s life is good!

What We Know About the 2024 Cicada Broods

According to the knowledgeable folks at Cicada Mania, 2024 will witness the emergence of two cicada broods, Brood XIX (Nineteen) and Brood XIII (Thirteen). Brood XIII only emerges from the ground once every 17 years, and Brood XIX emerges once every 13 years. The last time these broods emerged together was in 1803!

Each cicada brood occupies a certain geographic region within the United States. Something notable about 2024 is that the two broods emerging this year cover a HUGE land expanse. Case in point:

- Brood XIII covers the Great Lakes region, including Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

- Brood XIX is MASSIVE. It includes Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Mississippi, Tennessee, Illinois, Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland! 

To summarize, if you live anywhere in the eastern half of the U.S., except Florida and parts of the Northeast, you will almost certainly find yourself in a cicada zone this year. If you’ve lived through a “cicada invasion” before, you’ll know what these critters are like and know you’re in for a bizarre summer. And if you’ve never experienced the emergence of a cicada brood before, read on and get prepared!

Fun Facts About this Fun-Loving Bug

Cicadas are funny-looking winged insects that spend most of their life underground. Once they reach a certain point in adulthood, they emerge above ground, fly around a lot, emit their shrill mating call, mate, fly around some more, lay a bunch of eggs, and then die.

Much like the 1990s and early 2000s boy bands, cicadas make a lot of commotion for a short while, and everyone gets excited about them, and then they vanish!

Here are some fun facts about these truly weird creatures:

1). Cicadae are born into tree bark, but shortly after hatching from their eggs, they fall to the ground, burrow into the soil, and spend most of their lives digging around and feeding on plant roots.

2). Only the male cicada bug makes the loud, shrill call associated with these funny-looking critters. And yep, you guessed it: Their loud noises (like so many other young, adolescent male species) are definitely mating calls!

3). Though cicadas don’t even look like they’re from Planet Earth (we think they look like alien invaders!), we did our research, and yes, cicadas are insects. They belong to the “Hemiptera” bug family.

4). Brood cicadas usually have red-orange eyes that are oddly situated on the sides of the cicada’s head. We’ve also seen cicadas with blue, white, and grayish eyes.

5). Female cicadas are attracted to the sound of motors, so if you get swarmed by cicada bugs while trying to mow the grass, that’s why!

6). Cicadas can live underground for several years, sometimes over a decade. However, they only spend a few adult weeks above ground before their life cycle ends.

7). Did you know that cicadas are helpful for your yard? Yep, cicadas dig tunnels through the soil, allowing natural aeration. Plus, they die when they return to the ground after mating, and their bodies put nitrogen back into the soil.

8). Cicadas have many natural predators. Raccoons, mice, birds, opossums, and other critters are in for some delicious cicada dinners this summer!

9). The cicada bug is the loudest insect in the world, with its shrill song recorded at over 100 decibels!

10). Individual cicadas can tell when an entire brood is emerging from the ground. That’s how millions of these insects come soaring out of the ground simultaneously.

Cicada Poster Art

After you’ve survived the coming horde, you’ll have earned some pretty significant bragging rights, and we have the funky, groovy, stylish “cicada swag” poster art to help you let the world know you survived the Cicada-clypse! These illustrations take inspiration from 1950’s horror movie poster art, 1990’s arcade video game art, comic book art, and 1970s poster art.

We hope you enjoy the art and we hope you're ready because one thing is for sure…

They are coming…

-Ren Brabenec
Anderson Design Group Staff Writer

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