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Cicadas: The Sound of Summer

They are sound of summer. They are especially loud in wooded areas, like Washington Park in Springfield.

"When there's a lot of them, it's annoying," Val Smith, who was walking in the park, said.

"Sometimes deafening," Lou Humphrey, who was also walking in the park, said. "But, it's the ultimate sound of summer to me."

If cicadas are bothering you, well, there is nothing you can do about it, but they'll be gone soon. These are known as the dogdays cicadas. They come out every July and August.

"What's interesting about them is the only live a very short time above ground," Jennifer Fishburn from the U of I Extension Office said. "They spend the majority of their life, two to five years, underground as nymphs where they are feeding on tree roots."

Then they mate, reproduce, and die. Fishburn said you'll probably hear them just a few more weeks. Despite their nasty appearance, cicadas are harmless.

"They are very big," Fishburn said. "They can be an inch and a half in length. They have very large black eyes, kind of bug-eyed looking."

And they are loud. But despite their annoyance, at least for some of you, others have a different perspective.

"I've lived in places that don't always have them, and I always miss them and glad to have them back," Humphrey said.

"Some people do eat them," Fishburn said. "They are edible. They are even considered a delicacy I suppose."

Fishburn said we do have periodical cicadas, which came out in 2011. She said there is a 13-year cicada and 17-year cicada.