Think of what's going on with cicadas just to the east of the Rockford area as a sort of precursor to what we're going to be going through in three short years.

Wall covered with cicadas
Getty Images

Here in Rockford and surrounding towns, we've been spared from the full force of Brood X, which is considered to be one of the largest of the 17-year cicada brood. In about 15 states and a tiny portion of Illinois that includes about 6 counties on the southeastern side, they're getting full treatment of several billion cicadas popping out of the ground.

They're noisy, with the male's decibel count nearly reaching that of a jet engine or loud lawnmower, and they're also so plentiful right now in places like Cincinnati that the local police are warning drivers to keep their vehicle's windows closed as they drive around the city. It's going to be fairly uncomfortable if your car doesn't have air conditioning, but it might save people from what happened to another Cincinnati resident.

WGN-TV News:

A man was driving Monday evening when he went through a swarm of cicadas. Police said one of the insects flew into the car, hit the driver in the face and temporarily stunned him. He crashed into a utility pole.

The guy's going to be okay, since he was not travelling at a high rate of speed, and he was wearing a seatbelt. The car is probably a total loss.

I mentioned that we've been lucky because Brood X hasn't come as far north and west as Rockford--but in 2024, that all comes to an end when it's our turn with another few billion cicadas called Brood XIII.

Brood X Cicada swarm on a fence
Getty Images

According to a study done by the University of Illinois, Brood XIII, or the Northern Illinois Brood, which will emerge in late May 2024, has a reputation for the largest emergence of cicadas known anywhere. So, how large is "the largest emergence?"

University of Illinois:

During the 1956 emergence, they counted an average of 311 nymphal emergence holes per square yard of ground in a forested floodplain near Chicago. This translates to 1½ million cicadas per acre. In upland sites, they recorded 27 emergence holes per square yard, translating to about 133,000 per acre.

For perspective, a city block is approximately 3.5 acres. Doing the rudimentary math, that means about 465,500 cicadas per block.

Put a reminder in your phone for May of 2024 to keep your car windows rolled up for about 6 weeks.

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