Why those 17-year cicadas didn’t come here

The millions of cicadas that were predicted to return to the Quad Cities this year never showed up.

The brood, or group, was part of 12 other broods of 17-year cicadas that burrow deep into the ground and feed off tree roots until they are ready to emerge again, usually in the millions.

Related: Love them or hate them the cicadas are coming

“It’s a lot. When you really get them, you really get them and the noise is just absolutely deafening,” said Duane Gissel, Horticulturist at the Scott County Extension and Outreach Center in Bettendorf.  “We all know how loud the annual cicada can be when you’re out trying to talk to someone in the evening or early morning. These cicadas are probably tenfold that.”

The last time the Quad Cities saw this brood of cicadas was in 1997, which is why this summer should have been the time they would come up again.

Muscatine may have reported seeing the huge influx of cicadas, but the Quad Cities have not gotten any.

“It was up in the air, whether they would show here or not,” said Gissel. “According to the maps, we were in an area that could potentially see them, and they just never showed up around here.”

Gissel said there isn’t one defining reason as to why the bugs never came up in the Quad Cities, but he suspects it may have something to do with the lack of wooded areas.

“People that build houses [in the woodlands] are disturbing the soil, digging up, which could potentially interrupt [the cicadas’] food source,” said Gissel.

Since the Quad Cities did not get the 17-year brood of cicadas this year, the bugs probably won’t return to the area in the next 17-year round, either, Gissel said.

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