Everything Cicadas in the Near West Suburbs! When They're Coming, Our Photo Contest, & Where to Eat Them
Aunt Dianas 5-1
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Get ready for the buzz! Cicadas are about to make their grand entrance in the near west suburbs, and we're here to cover all the noisy details.


From their impending arrival to the best cicada-centric activities, our guide has everything you need to know. We'll dive into the specifics of when to expect these fascinating critters, share tips on joining our exciting photo contest, and even suggest top spots where you can taste these seasonal treats.


Whether you're a cicada enthusiast or just cicada-curious, this blog post is your ultimate resource for enjoying the upcoming cicada season to the fullest!


Cicadas 101


Cicadas are due to make a big appearance in the Midwest, particularly the Chicago area, with experts predicting the peak to occur in mid-May. This seasonal phenomenon is driven by several factors, including soil temperature and surrounding environmental conditions. Historically, cicadas emerge when the ground warms in spring, typically around mid-to-late May into June. However, this year's emergence started earlier than usual due to the soil reaching the ideal temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit sooner. While some cicadas have already been spotted, a large-scale emergence, where cicadas come out of the ground in groups, is yet to be seen. 


The 2024 cicada emergence is especially notable as it marks the simultaneous appearance of two distinct broods, Brood XIII and Brood XIX, an occurrence that hasn't been seen in over two centuries. Brood XIII is expected to be visible across northern Illinois and parts of Indiana, possibly extending into Wisconsin and Ohio, while Brood XIX, known as the Great Southern Brood, will have a more widespread presence across several states, including Missouri, Illinois, and parts of the East Coast. This rare overlap could lead to unique interactions, including inter-brood mating. Although many people aren’t too excited, the emergence of these cicadas is not only a fascinating natural event but also an important one for the ecosystem, contributing to the biodiversity and health of local environments!


Visit Oak Park Cicada Photo Contest


So, if the cicadas are coming anyway, we might as well have some fun, right?


We think so, too! That’s why we’re hosting a contest to see who can get the best pictures of the cicada invasion hitting Illinois this summer. The contest is intended for amateur photographers and has three categories:


Most colorful picture

Most cicadas in one picture

Best action shot


Contest winners will each receive a $100 gift card.


Your guess is as good as ours on when these critters will make their way out of their underground burrows, so we’re giving you May 15 to June 19 to submit your picture. Post your snapshot on your Instagram story with the location and @visitoakpark tagged to qualify. 


To win, pictures must be taken at Forest Preserves of Cook County locations in or near the following communities:


Oak Park

River Forest

Forest Park




LaGrange Park


Franklin Park

Schiller Park

A cicada invasion of this kind won’t be seen again until 2037, so get out in nature and make the most of this historic phenomenon. It may just win you a $100 gift card!


Click here to see our Facebook event.


Where to Eat Cicadas in the Near West Suburbs


Okay, so maybe we don’t have that many restaurants actually selling cicadas, but we do have a couple of local gems trying to get in on the fun! Take a look at these places serving up cicada look-a-likes in candy form. 


Tate's Old Fashioned Ice Cream (La Grange)


Tate's Old Fashioned Ice Cream in La Grange, IL, has crafted an unforgettable treat that's as curious as it is delicious with their chocolate-covered ice cream cicadas. Each ice cream cicada (no real cicadas here, folks) is draped in rich chocolate and served in a bug box for that realistic feel.


This inventive offering combines the nostalgia of classic ice cream with a creative twist, making it a must-try for both the young and the young at heart. Perfect for those looking to enjoy a quirky and memorable dessert experience, Tate's continues to dazzle with its unique and playful creations.


Click here to learn more. 


Aunt Diana's (Riverside)


Aunt Diana's in Riverside, IL, offers a unique and playful twist on this theme with their chocolate cicadas. These novel confections come in two varieties: plain for those who love the smooth, rich taste of chocolate and extra crunchy, which includes Rice Krispies, for those looking for a realistic experience.


This fun take on chocolate treats caters to both adventurous eaters and those looking to enjoy a fun, thematic snack inspired by the natural world. Perfect for locals and visitors alike, Aunt Diana's continues to charm with its creative approach to sweets. And remember, no actual cicadas are used in the making of these chocolates. 


Click here to learn more. 


Cooking Them Up at Home


Although we can't vouch for how they taste, a recent article in the Chicago Tribune actually says that cicadas make a tasty treat. 


As Maureen Turcatel from Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History suggests, incorporating insects into our diets is not only sustainable but also a nutritious choice. Cicadas, for instance, are an excellent source of protein and can be harvested locally as they emerge with the warming soil. For the adventurous foodies, you don't have to rely solely on cicadas; Amazon also offers an exotic menu ranging from salted black ants to dehydrated zebra tarantulas. 


However, for those specifically interested in cicadas, Turcatel advises foraging in forested areas to avoid the chemicals often found in residential areas. Just remember, if you're allergic to crustaceans, you might want to pass on this culinary adventure, as cicadas share a similar biological makeup. Whether you're a culinary explorer or just curious, this could be your chance to try what might just be the hyper-local food trend of the future!


Click here to read the article and find out how to tempura fry these seasonal critters.