Attack of the Cicadas 2024

News outlets are talking about the trillions of cicadas due to emerge in April 2024, a rare “double brood” event that hasn’t happened in 200 years. What does that mean for your gardens, how many states will be affected, and — most importantly — how can you minimize the deafening noise these creatures create? Cicadas are large insects known for two things: their incredible buzzing song and their fascinating life cycle. As soil temperatures begin to rise, two neighboring broods will emerge around the same time, with all 7 named species of cicadas being visible simultaneously. Some estimates suggest that there will be millions per acre in some places, while the highest densities will be in wooded areas. According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the double brood may emerge in mid-April, when temperatures are expected to be unseasonably warm and rainy, though they may wait until mid-May, which is more typical. Brood XIII will appear in states like Iowa, Wisconsin, and possibly Michigan, while Brood XIX will emerge in states such as Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The hum of cicadas may be as loud as 100 decibels, which is similar to the noise of a motorcycle revving or loud outdoor power tools. Interestingly, the sound of lawnmowers attracts these insects, which is why it’s recommended that you do any lawn work early in the morning or late at night, when cicadas are less active. The good news is that cicadas are harmless to humans and beneficial to local ecology. What you can do to minimize the noise? Aside from mowing at night, you can use a strong hose to disrupt cicada activity and knock them off trees. It also keeps your lawn hydrated. Cover valuable shrubs and young trees with netting with holes smaller than 1 centimeter to prevent egg-laying. If the noise is bothersome indoors, consider using a white noise machine to help mask the soundscape.