Brood X cicadas, other insects begin to emerge across Delaware Valley

Friday, May 21, 2021
Brood X cicadas begin to emerge around Delaware Valley
Sure, you may have heard all about the Brood X cicadas. But, have you actually seen up close yet?

NEWARK, Delaware (WPVI) -- Emerging from your pandemic pad this spring? You won't be alone.

Sure, you may have heard all about the Brood X cicadas. But, have you actually seen up close yet?

"I feel like they are cute," said Doug Curtiss, of Newark, Delaware.

"I'm mostly grossed out by them," said his father, Caleb.

Caleb Curtiss and his son Doug may be the leading authority on the 17-year phenomenon.

Their yard is full of them. Doug has also been collecting them to protect them from predators, like the family dog or lawnmower.

RELATED: Curious what cicadas taste like? Cicada recipes could help you find out

"Doug wants to be very gentle to the bugs. He doesn't want to hurt the bugs and so we're not going to mow the lawn," said Caleb.

So, what's so special about the Brood X?

"Brood X also happens to be the largest of all of the ones in the country, so three different species are going to be coming up in the billons across our region," said Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion CEO Dr. John Cambridge.

That's right, billions. So, what have the cicadas been up to all these years? Eating.

"This is not an invasive species, this is not a harmful species. As immatures, they are feeding on tree roots for 17 years before they emerge as adults," Cambridge added.

That's when things will get noisy.

"You will hear it 24 hours a day," said Cambridge.

A least for the next month while the Brood X find mates, lay eggs and then die.

Not as easy to get rid of is the spotted lanternfly.

Nymphs, the little ones, have already been spotted, so you can expect to see scenes of covered steps in Center City again.

Cambridge said don't squish them, but report them.

"People should act as eyes, not as swatting bats," he said.

Finally, ticks are a usual concern this season. Experts say the Delaware Valley is a hotspot for tick-borne illnesses, like Lyme disease.