How Will the Double Emergence of Cicadas Affect Dogs? · The Wildest

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A Historic Amount of Cicadas Are Descending on the U.S.—How Will It Affect Dogs?

Everything pet parents should know about keeping their pups safe and stress-free during this rare event. 

by Sio Hornbuckle
May 7, 2024
A pampered dog sitting beside its owner in the city park.
daniromphoto / iStock

Billions of noisy cicadas are about to emerge from underground…and as if that wasn’t news enough, there’s a twist. This year, we will see a rare occurrence, in which the two groups of periodical cicadas — one that emerges every 13 years, and one that emerges every 17 years — will come out at the same time. It sounds apocalyptic ( or cicadapocalyptic, as Business Insider put it), but it has happened before — 221 years ago, when Thomas Jefferson was president. 

Cicadas emerge during the spring and early summer, when the temperature of dirt reaches 64 degrees; this is usually in May and June. In Illinois, the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control released an alert warning pet parents to keep their pets protected during the historic event, reported NBC Chicago. Below is everything you need to know about how to look after your dogs when the cicadas come crawling out. 

Where will the cicadas be in the U.S.? 

The larger brood of cicadas, the Great Southern Brood (aka Brood XIX, the 13-year brood) pops up in the South and Southeast, including Missouri, Arkansas, Southern Illinois, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas, according to Scientific American . They are projected to appear in 17 states this year; to see if your area will be impacted, check out USA Today’s 2024 cicada map. The 17-year cicadas (Brood XIII, aka the Northern Illinois Brood) emerge in Northern Illinois and some parts of Iowa and Wisconsin. 

In some parts of Central Illinois, both broods will be present at the same time, in the same place. “This contact area will see all seven species at once,” Martha Weiss, a professor of biology at Georgetown University, told Phys.org.

How will pets react to the cicada emergence? 

The sudden arrival of cicadas can be startling — even for humans. In South Carolina, where cicadas are already emerging due to the heat, the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office has received calls from people “about a noise in the air that sounds like a siren, or a whine, or a roar,” the office posted on Facebook — but the sound was simply the cicada emergence. 

While their behaviors are harmless, dogs and cats might be freaked out by all the buzzing. “The noise, size, and movements of cicadas may be startling to some pets,” the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control said. “If a pet seems scared, owners should try to direct them to an area with fewer cicadas like a comfortable and quiet place inside the home to relax.”

Are cicadas toxic to dogs and cats?

Cicadas are not toxic to dogs and cats; they don’t bite or sting. That said, there will be so many living and dead cicadas that it’s worth keeping an eye on your pet — especially if you have a little scavenger on your hands. “When they really start dying off, the streets and sidewalks are literally paved with cicadas, it’s just billions and billions and billions of them,” Jim Louderman, a collections assistant in the Field Museum's Insect Division, told ABC 7 Chicago.

And while cicadas aren’t poisonous, eating cicadas isn’t great for your pet. “The material their exoskeleton is made of is difficult for some animals to digest and may upset their stomach,” said Purdue University. 

For that reason, it’s recommended that pets are kept away from cicadas and not encouraged to consume any. If your pet seems sick after eating cicadas, you should bring them to a veterinarian. 

References 

Sio Hornbuckle

Sio Hornbuckle is a writer living in New York City with their cat, Toni Collette.

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