The place are the cicadas in Delaware? This is what it’s best to know in regards to the noisy insect



The cicadas have arrived.

The noisy insects known as Brood X appear in parts of Delaware.

USA TODAY reported that cicadas would form when soil temperatures reached 64 degrees, and they would likely arrive in late April or early May. Now New Castle County is starting to see them appear.

Delawareans share their cicada sightings on social media. The Delaware Center for Horticulture has shared photos of a mass of cicadas found in Newark.

And Andree Golindo, a Newark resident, shared photos of the cicadas and their clams that she found in her garden and trees.

Andree Golindo, of Newark, has found hundreds of cicadas and clams in her home since they first appeared in Delaware. (Photo: Courtesy Andree Golindo)

However, these photos only show a small fraction of what people should expect over the next few weeks.

When people start seeing these periodic cicadas popping up in their backyards, what Delawareeans should know about them.

What are Brood X Cicadas?

This group of periodic cicadas, called Brood X, emerges every 17 years and spends their time underground feeding on sap from the roots of plants.

The cicadas lay their eggs, which hatch four to six weeks later. Then their offspring repeat the cycle and return underground until they emerge in 17 years.

Brian Kunkel, an integrated pest specialist at the University of Delaware, said the Brood X is one of the largest breeding cicadas and has a great geographic reach reaching the District of Columbia and 15 states including: Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

And these aren’t the only cicadas to appear in Delaware. Kunkel said there are other breeds coming out in Delaware, including one that comes out every 13 years. And a group of annual cicadas will come later in June and stay through September when the periodic ones start to go.

The special thing about Brood X is that they appear much earlier than the annual ones and come out in much larger numbers.

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A cicada crawls on playground equipment in Phillips Park in Newark Monday, May 24, 2021. (Photo: Jerry Habraken, Delaware News Journal)

Where will I see cicadas?

New Castle County’s residents will likely be the only ones who will have the cicadas in their neighborhood.

Kunkel said the Brood X Cicadas are not in Sussex County at all, and there might be some in Kent County, but they won’t be in the high numbers New Castle County will see.

He said nobody knows exactly why they only appear in the northern part of the state. He believes a lot of this could have to do with soil type. The counties of Kent and Sussex have more sandy soils where the conditions for cicadas are not as good.

People may see more of them in wooded areas where there are more mature trees, but people shouldn’t expect to see them in wooded areas in Kent or Sussex Counties.

Golindo said she saw not only cicadas in her home but also around Newark, particularly in Glasgow Park.

On her property, she has spotted most of them in their backyards and front gardens, in their trees and in their plants.

“It’s a little gross, but it’s fascinating at the same time,” she said.

Golindo even watched one of them emerge from its shell.

Many Newark area residents have shared their stories and photos with the news journal about the thousands of cicadas and clams they found around town and in their yards.

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Cicada exoskeletons pile on the ground in Phillips Park in Newark on Monday, May 24, 2021. (Photo: Jerry Habraken, Delaware News Journal)

How long will you be here?

After the periodic leafhoppers appear, they usually take about four to six weeks to complete. Kunkel said they started coming out in Delaware about a week ago. He would expect them to leave in the third week of June.

This is usually the time they show up, he said, but he wasn’t living in Delaware when they came over in 2004. He said that their formation depends on soil temperatures.

“We’ve had this real cold spell and that may have delayed some of the ascent, but the ground temperatures are much more constant than the air,” he said.

And when it rains, people will likely see more coming out because it makes the ground softer and easier for the cicadas to get through.

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A cicada crawls in a tree in Phillips Park in Newark Monday May 24, 2021. (Photo: Jerry Habraken, Delaware News Journal)

Why are they so loud? And when are they loudest?

Kunkel said that when you hear the cicadas they are “looking for love”.

Men try to get women’s attention so they can mate. Once the cicadas find their partners and the females lay their eggs, they will die. The cicada nymphs will crawl back into the ground at some point and won’t return for another 17 years.

People should expect to be the loudest during the day. Sometimes people hear the insect singing, sometimes not, but he said they hear a hum that might sound like “static feedback”.

“It’s a faint rumble,” he said. “It will be a different sound than what you normally hear. It will sound out of place.”

Golindo said she had a few hundred cicadas in her home and they had been quiet so far.

He said the buzz can reach 100 decibels, which is the equivalent of a low-flying airplane or a lawn mower.

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Cicadas crawl on playground equipment in Phillips Park in Newark Monday, May 24, 2021. (Photo: Jerry Habraken, Delaware News Journal)

How many will there be in Delaware?


Kunkel said it could be as high as 1 billion across New Castle County, but residents will definitely see hundreds of millions of the noisy insects, with each female cicada laying up to 600 eggs.

The annual cicadas that appear in late June and stay through September come out by the tens of thousands.

He said the magazines come out in great numbers because so many other animals eat them.

“The animals that consume cicadas get fed up and cannot consume enough cicadas to have an impact on the population,” said Kunkel.

Even though she knew they would arrive in the millions, Golindo was shocked at the number of cicadas she saw on her property.

Are they harmful to my pets and plants?

Cicadas will not bite, sting, or harm pets or plants. Kunkel said the greatest threat is from recently planted trees with twigs and twigs that are small in diameter – about the size of a pencil.

Female cicadas laying eggs on these thinner branches can result in dead sections on the trees. Overall, however, they do not affect the health of the plant. He recommends covering a recently planted tree with an insect net if someone is concerned with breakage.

As for your pets, he said that eating or playing with the insect is not harmful.

“It’s a cheap pet toy. They’ll clap it and chase it until it’s dead.”

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