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Invasion of Cicada Hordes Feared in US Midwest

Alarm bells are ringing across the Midwest over the possible invasion of cicadas. Well they dont bite or sting. But they can be quite a nuisance .

For their mating calls that produce a din that can overpower ringing telephones, lawn mowers and power tools. Cicadas live only about 30 days as adults, and their main goal is mating.

These red-eyed, shrimp-sized, flying insects, also called periodical cicadas, are only found in the eastern half of North America. The annual, or dog-day cicadas, that appear every summer are common around the world.

The last massive emergence of periodical cicadas was in 2004, when Brood X emerged after 17 years underground in parts of 15 Eastern states. Some broods emerge after 13 years.

Brood XIII is expected across northern Illinois, and in parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. They don't harm humans, although they are clumsy and might fly into people. Birds, squirrels and pets, especially dogs, love to eat them, and they are high in protein.

"They're going to have quite a meal. It's going to be like Thanksgiving for them," said Tom Tiddens, supervisor for plant health care at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

As nymphs burrowing underground, cicadas suck sap from tree roots. Almost all members of a group, or brood, burst from the ground within a couple days of each other.

They quickly climb the nearest vertical surface to molt and unroll their wings. In some heavily wooded areas, as many as 1.5 million cicadas per acre will crowd onto trees, expert say.

"It's one of the greatest insect emergences on Earth," said Daniel Summers, an entomologist at The Field Museum.

A single male's shrill courtship call can reach 90 decibels, equivalent to a kitchen blender. That could sour plans for outdoor events over the next few weeks.

Ravinia Festival, a 103-year-old music festival held north of Chicago, rev
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