Cicadas in Chicago: Evidence at Morton Arboretum shows they're here

LISLE, Ill. - The Morton Arboretum in Lisle has evidence that the periodical cicadas have arrived.

These cicadas have been living underground for the past 17 years. They dig their way out of the dirt, leaving small, round holes under trees.

The flying, red-eyed bugs emerge from the ground, mature, mate and start laying eggs in trees. Some younger or unhealthy trees could be severely damaged if not protected from the females, which deposit their eggs in small branches.

"Once they emerge, about five to 15 days later, they will mate and then the female will start laying her eggs on the underside of the branches. She cuts a slit in the bottom of the branch, lays her eggs inside of that branch," said Stephanie Adams, Plant Pathologist.

Horticulturalists at the Morton Arboretum wrapped smaller, more vulnerable plants that are on the preferred host list in tulle to protect them and act as a barrier.

"The neat thing about cicadas is that they're big enough, they don’t bite, they don’t sting. Anybody can go up and pick them up and so they’re a really great experience to show, especially young children because they will just sit there and you can see the beauty because the wings are so large. You can see how beautiful and intricate their bodies and wings are," Adams said.

Cicadas may be loud, but they shouldn't be scary, according to Adams.

"Don't be afraid of cicadas. Celebrate them," Adams said.