Why Do Bugs Come in Cycles? 

You may have noticed that the insects that invade Utah each year aren’t always the same. One year there will be a ton of hornets, the next year flies seem really bad. Last year I had all kinds of ants in my yard. 

The answer may be found in a study published in the Journal of Science. These researchers from George Washington University looked at how years with lots of Cicadas changed the food chain.  

Cicada’s 17 Year Broods 

Cicadas have a cycle where they emerge after many years, and it is called a brood. 2024 will be a big year for cicadas because two separate broods will come out, something that hasn’t happened in 200 years. 

All these cicadas will be easy pickings for birds and other predators. These insects don’t have any natural protection and with so many, it means an easy meal. With all the predators eating cicadas, the bugs they usually eat get a pass. 


Caterpillar population increased 

Years with tons of cicadas meant the caterpillars didn’t get eaten. That meant all those caterpillars ate a lot more leaves. So, the trees ended up getting munched effecting other species that live in the trees. 

You can see how the whole balance was disrupted in this year of cicadas. This helps explain how the environment is constantly adjusting and why certain bugs thrive from year to year. 

Read More: Utah’s Most JAW-DROPPING Insects That’ll HAUNT Your Nightmares

What bug will be big this year? Well, we know there will be a ton of cicadas and according to this study, that means more caterpillars. These turn into moths and butterflies. So, expect lots of those. That's my best guess anyway. 

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Gallery Credit: Andrea Vale

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