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Cicadas 101: Learning about cicadas in the First State

Wikipedia Commons/pmjacoby

Cicadas are back this year.

The last time they appeared 17 years ago Lance Armstrong won his 6th Tour de France and Ruth Ann Minner was Delaware’s Governor.

Now the bugs have returned and are making noise in the northern part of the state - at least for a little while longer.

Delaware Public Media’s Nick Ciolino spoke with University of Delaware entomology specialist David Owens about cicada Brood X.

It’s been 17 years since the last cicada year in Delaware and Brood X is still making noise in the northern part of the state.

The bugs are particularly dense in the Middletown area, but the further south you go, the less of a chance there is of seeing one.

David Owens is an entomology specialist at the University of Delaware. He says it’s always rare to see a periodical cicada in Kent and Sussex Counties.


“And we’re not exactly sure why that is," said Owens. "Here’s a couple of different hypotheses that there are soil conditions or tree communities that they do not like.”    


Periodical cicadas are unique to the United States.


“They’re very special things, and I think of them as a testament to the need for conservation of wooded habitats especially,” said Owens.    


There are several different species. Brood X is a 17-year periodical cicada that calls Maryland, northeastern Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and northern Delaware home.

They’ll be around for another week or two and the annual “dog day” cicadas can be expected to arrive statewide later this summer.


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