The 17-year Cicada emergence is coming to an end

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This is my first time actually experiencing the periodical cicada emergence,” said Stephanie Adams, The Morton Arboretum’s plant healthcare leader. “I’ve seen pictures and I’ve heard stories, but it was so much better than I ever anticipated.”

For the past five weeks, the Naperville area has been flooded with an abundance of 17-year cicadas. Now, experts from the Morton Arboretum say their time is coming to an end.

A unique opportunity comes to an end

‘We are in our fifth week since our first adult (cicada) has been found here at the Arboretum,” said Adams. “We estimate that the whole brood would have their full (life) cycle within six weeks. So we’re really towards the end of that.” 

For some, the emergence of the 17-year cicada has been an exciting opportunity. Two broods of the red-eyed insects–and their rare, blue-eyed companions, have emerged all across Illinois and the Eastern United States.

Aftercare for your trees

With the abundance of carcasses and exoskeletons left behind, Adams is encouraging people to “compost them and put them in their planting beds and  continue to contribute and build our soil and our soil microbiome.”

Adams reminds us that it is a stressful event for trees. “Especially with all the egg laying, flagging cause from when the female cicada lays her eggs.” The eggs cause the branch to break and drop from the tree.

For the younger trees that have netting, Adams says it will be another two or three weeks before the Arboretum recommends removing the netting from the trees. 

Donated Blue-Eye Cicada to the Morton Arboretum

“We had a four-year-old member, and aspiring entomologist donate a blue-eyed cicada that he found in his backyard, which he named Bluey, said Adams.” “And so now that’s going to be integrated into our collections and into our library, so later on, you can actually check it out, just like a book.”

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