While there may be a few cicada skins on trees this summer, Wisconsinites will have to wait a few more years for billions of the bugs to emerge from the ground, as they will be doing farther east and south of Wisconsin very soon by the trillions.
There are two general types of cicadas, said PJ Liesch, an entomologist at UW-Madison: regular “dog day” cicadas and the more vibrant periodical variety, which are classified into “broods.”
There are 14 broods that spend most of their lives below ground, drinking sap from tree roots, and emerge every 17 years to mate as part of an evolutionary survival strategy. (Another three broods emerge every 13 years.)
“By coming out in such astonishing numbers it guarantees that some are going to survive and reproduce,” Liesch said.
This is the year for Brood X (Roman numeral for 10), which are found in 15 states from Illinois to Georgia and New York.
While some broods can overlap, Wisconsin is home to just one, Brood XIII, which last emerged in 2007 across the southern third of the state, as well as in Iowa and northern Illinois.
Their next appearance is scheduled for 2024, though Liesch expects there will still be plenty of “dog day” cicadas to be found on hot days until then.