Well, not locusts, but cicadas. The great cicada invasion of northern Illinois and parts of Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana begins today. Billions of the large, noisy, winged insects will emerge from their underground burrows where they have lived as nymphs sucking sap from tree roots for the past seventeen years. The cicadas will emerge long enough to mate and lay eggs before dying in a few weeks. Then the seventeen year cycle repeats.
The cicadas that will emerge today actually comprise three different species that follow an identical 17-year cycle. Each species makes a distinctive sound. One sounds like it is repeating the word "pharaoh," another like a sizzling skillet and the third like a rotary lawn sprinkler. The deafening chorus of cicadas will continue for a few weeks until the adults die off, littering the local landscape with mountains of cicada carcasses.
Inevitably, local celebrity chefs will appear on news programs demonstrating the proper ways to batter and fry cicadas and some restaurants will briefly feature the high-protein bugs on their appetizer menus. Cicadas have a nutty, pistachio flavor, so they say.