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Parking will be limited at the Nature Center to allow for construction equipment and deliveries to be made as Acorn Acres progress continues. Additional parking is available in the north overflow parking lot (1213 Bellevue Blvd. N.).

Parking will be limited at the Nature Center to allow for construction equipment and deliveries to be made as Acorn Acres progress continues. Additional parking is available in the north overflow parking lot (1213 Bellevue Blvd. N.).

What’s the Buzz About Cicadas?

article by Hannah Miller, Naturalist Educator

An annual Dog-day Cicada

There’s cicada mania going on in the media right now – this year is a big year for cicadas, as two large groups of them will emerge at the same time in the Midwest! Cicadas spend most of their life as larvae (or grubs) underground, then emerge from the ground in the summer to sing to us from the trees.  

This year, two large groups of cicadas, called broods, are set to emerge at the same time in Illinois. These are called periodical cicadas, and they emerge on a 13 or 17 year cycle. They spend the vast majority of their lives below ground, then emerge briefly to eat, mate, and start their life cycle over again! The first cicada sightings have already begun in Chicago, with the first few insects emerging from the ground on May 16th

Are we going to see the broods emerge here at Fontenelle Forest this year? Unfortunately, no. Nebraska is home to 24 species of cicadas that are split into two groups – the periodical cicadas with 13 or 17 year life cycles, and the dog day (annual) cicadas with 2 to 5 year life cycles. Both broods of periodical cicadas emerging this year, Brood XIX and XIII, will be further east than Fontenelle Forest.  

However, eastern Nebraska does have its own brood of periodical cicadas. Brood IV, the Kansan brood, last emerged in Fontenelle Forest in 2015. This brood covers a large amount of ground, spanning from Nebraska to northern Texas. As Brood IV is on a 17-year cycle, they’ll appear again here at the Forest in 2032.  

This summer in Fontenelle Forest, we will have our usual number of dog day cicadas emerging -but mark your calendars for 2032 to welcome back the periodical cicadas! If you’re itching to see billions of periodical cicadas this year from mid-May to June, head to Illinois!  

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