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Central Kentucky misses periodic cicadas this year, set for big bug year in 2025

Rare Cicada llinois
Posted at 6:22 PM, Jun 07, 2024

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Plenty of headlines bugged out over the massive cicada invasion to come during spring this year. Two broods of periodic cicadas had their emergence dates set to overlap, bringing out cicadas from southern Wisconsin down to Georgia.

“They’re this kind of poetic symbol of rebirth,” said Jonathan Larson, PhD and Extension Entomologist. “They make music, I just think that they’re super fascinating because of all of that.”

The double brood emergence drew a lot of attention because of its rarity.

“The reason this one was historic is that these two broods haven’t come out at the same time since 1803, so back when Thomas Jefferson was president,” Larson said.

As spring morphed into summer in central Kentucky, however, there seemed to be a lack of cicadas singing into the night. Dr. Larson explained.

“Some of us in the central part of Kentucky, we have cicada FOMO. We have a fear of missing out, because the emergence, the double brood emergence that’s happening in 2024, the parts of Kentucky that are seeing these insects, they’re out west. You have to get closer to the Illinois border over to the Missouri border. That’s where the bugs are this year."

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While Lexington missed the extra emergence of this year’s periodical cicadas, a different brood will emerge in central and eastern Kentucky next year.

“Next year in 2025, most of Kentucky will have its own emergence,” Larson said. "It’s mostly in Kentucky and then some of the surrounding states, but there’s a lot of them in this state. I’m going to push next year to try and call it the bourbon brood or the bluegrass brood or something because it does seem so concentrated in this state.”

Dr. Larson added that these cicadas do not pose an extra pest problem to plants and people – aside from their noisy songs.

“They are quite loud. An individual one can be as loud as a lawnmower, and when they sing together you’re approaching the decibel levels of jet airplanes.”

From nature lovers to bug haters, Dr. Larson hopes people can find an appreciation for the periodic process.

“It’s really kind of spectacular. It’s something that is a bit of pageantry of nature, we try to get people to appreciate it, but you can also invest in earplugs if you really, really don’t like it.”

While these periodical cicadas only emerge every 13 to 17 years, Kentucky’s annual cicadas will return later on this year.