Not since 2004 have we seen the mass quantities of cicadas coming our way


DUBOIS COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT) – They only come out every seventeen years, so they say. And when they do – it’s in full force. If you don’t like a lot a noise. Keep those earmuffs handy because the cicadas are on their way up from beneath the earth.

It’s called the Brood X Emergence 2021. We know them as cicadas. And the last periodical cicadas came out in droves in 2004.

“It sounded like aliens coming through because of the sound of millions of insects out there singing all at once, as they came out, laid their eggs and then basically expired at the end of the breeding season,” said Kenneth Eck, an extension educator for Purdue.

Eck said you can expect to hear this over the next couple of weeks. You’ll also see and hear more because periodical cicadas come out in large quantities as a defense mechanism.

“This was a defense mechanism they have that you go underground for seventeen years, by then your enemies are gone. And you come out in large numbers in case they’re not gone,” said Eck.

Eck says that they’ll be hard to miss especially for people in Southern Indiana. They’re all throughout Indiana and some of the neighboring states, as well.

They can typically been seen and heard mostly in heavily wooded areas, but experts say to keep an eye on your smaller trees and shrubs and even your pets.

Eck says that the stiff wings on the cicadas can cause problems with an animal’s digestive tract especially if too many are consumed.

So would people want to eat cicadas? They are a delicacy in China, after all.

“They kind of taste like crab with a slightly nutty flavor according to the chefs,” said Eck.

And trying to catch them?

“You can’t use bird netting, the holes are too big and the insects can still crawl in,” he said.

“I spent a half a day trying to find bug nets. And nobody in Jasper has it. They don’t even know what I’m talking about,” said John Hoffman who attended the workshop.

The latest brood will stick around through late May. But the normal quantity of annual cicadas will come around July and August.

(This story was originally published on April 27, 2021)

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