Cicadas are here in McHenry County but fear not, experts say: ‘I wouldn’t cancel a graduation party’

Cicadas make their first appearance in Art Peterson's yard in Spring Grove the afternoon of Sunday, May 19, 2024.

Art Peterson of Spring Grove spotted some cicadas on wild violets while he was mowing the lawn Sunday, he said.

“They didn’t react to my presence or noise of lawn tractor. They were silent,” Peterson said. He added he went back outside an hour later and only saw the cicada shells. He hasn’t seen the bugs since.

The cicadas are beginning to emerge throughout McHenry County and will continue to do so over the next couple weeks.

In Northern Illinois, only one brood is set to emerge this year after remaining underground since 2007. Further downstate, two broods are emerging at the same time, which hasn’t happened in nearly 200 years.

The cicadas won’t be here long.

“It’s only for [about] six weeks,” said Brenda Dahlfors, Master Naturalist program coordinator at the University of Illinois Extension said. She added there is a two-week ramp up and two-week cool down period.

Humans don’t need to worry too much about the cicadas, Dahlfors said. People should cover their very young trees and leash their dogs while outside so they don’t eat too many cicadas. However, Dahlfors said people still have a little time to cover their trees.

“The biggest concern is the trunk,” Dahlfors said.

First sighting of a cicada in the yard of Art Peterson in Spring Grove on the afternoon of Sunday May 19, 2024.

Dahlfors added that people should not spray the cicadas, and there isn’t anything specifically designed to kill the bugs. Trying to spray them is “wasting your money and your time,” Dahlfors said. “They don’t bite, they don’t sting.”

She encourages parents and adults to be enthusiastic rather than fearful of cicadas.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of,” Dahlfors said.

John Fiorina of the Crystal Lake Park District said the cicadas “won’t be a point of nuisance if you’re tolerant of bugs.

“I wouldn’t cancel a graduation party for it.” he said.

The cicadas are starting to appear at Veteran Acres Park in Crystal Lake, and he said he’s witnessed some birds enjoying the feast.

“They were definitely eating well,” Fiorina said.

The park district’s Nature Center at Veteran Acres Park plans to reopen June 1 after the installation of new exhibits. The center has a monthly drop-in craft for people to come by and make. June’s craft? The cicada.

Luckily for the squeamish, the craft will be made of craft supplies and not actual cicadas. Fiorina said he and his colleagues saved a few cicadas from last time and plan to save a couple shells from this time.

For the cicada enthusiasts, the McHenry County Conservation District plans to host a cicada celebration at Fox Bluff Conservation Area in Cary June 2. The event is free and open to all.

Cicadas emerge May 20, 2024 at Harrison Benwell Conservation Area in Wonder Lake.

The Conservation District plans to host a Cicada Sounds event geared for children between the ages of 2 and 7 June 6. The cicada event, which will be held at Boone Creek Conservation Area in Bull Valley, is nearly sold out as of Monday afternoon.

The Conservation District also has a cicada map for people to share their cicada sightings. The submission form can be found at and a cicada map can be found at

Caitlynn Martinez-McWhorter, the conservation district’s marketing manager, said one of the activities of the conservation district’s Find your Wild summer scavenger hunt is to record a cicada sighting to the map.

“It’s a good time to go out and look for insects,” Fiorina said.

Northwest Herald reporter Amanda Marrazzo contributed.

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