The Northern Illinois Brood, also known as Brood XIII, has the reputation of being the largest emergence of cicadas known anywhere, and for those of us living in Illinois--it's going to happen very, very soon right in our own backyards...and front yards, side yards, terraces, etc.

With an expectation of billions and billions of cicadas (some experts have crossed over into the trillions range) showing up everywhere in this state and others, you may have wondered if these super-loud and super-ready-to-mate bugs have any natural predators to cut down on their ranks. You may also be curious as to what happens to your family pet if they eat one...or several cicadas.

Oh, and one more thing. Have you thought about what cicadas can do to the trees and shrubs in your yard?

Three cicadas sit together on a tree.
Why no, we're not laying eggs in your tree! We would never!(Getty Images)
No, me neither! (Getty Images)
No, me neither! (Getty Images)

Cicadas Definitely Have A Thing For Trees And Shrubs, And Could Do Some Real Damage Depending On What Types Of Trees You Have

According to a post from the renowned Morton Arboretum, cicadas don't really care which trees or shrubs they lay their eggs in, but they do have some preferences. Although they will still use them if they have to, cicadas seem to try to avoid plants that have sap or gum (pine trees, fir trees, spruce) that will make the hatching of their eggs more difficult.

Well, this is embarrassing. I'm stuck.(Getty Images)
Well, this is embarrassing. I'm stuck.(Getty Images)

The Morton Arboretum's post goes on to name the trees and shrubs that cicadas prefer. They also say that younger trees and bushes (less than 3 years) are the most vulnerable to cicada damage from egg laying.

The trees:

  • Oak
  • Maple
  • Hickory
  • Apple
  • Birch
  • Dogwood
  • Linden
  • Willow
  • Elm
  • Pear
  • Poplars
  • Cherry
  • Ash

The shrubs:

  • Lilac
  • Rose
  • Forsythia
Somebody want to get these off of me? (Getty Images)
Somebody want to get these off of me? (Getty Images)
White Winged Chough eating a flying insect
I'm on it! (Getty Images)

Now, Let's Get Back To What Eats These Cicadas, And What Happens To Your Pet If They Decide To Snack On Them

Answering the question of what eats cicadas is pretty straightforward. Nearly everything chows down on these big, meaty, nutrient-dense bugs. Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish...almost anything that eats will eat cicadas.

Including your dog.

A piece at says that it's fine if your dog or cat eats a few cicadas, but you should make sure that you keep the number low. Cicadas have that crunchy exoskeleton that can irritate your pet's digestive tract if too many are consumed, and what "too many" are will vary with the size of your pet.

Eating an excess amount of cicadas can cause your pet to suffer from intestinal upset, vomiting and diarrhea. Those symptoms are not fun for you or your pet, but not fatal, either.

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