Mother Nature on Mute May Lead to a Quieter Spring for Bucks County

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Image via pmjacoby at Creative Commons

2021’s class of Brood X cicadas have been underground for 17 years, slumbering away and growing. But by the time of their late-May wake-up call in Bucks County, their signature buzzing might be quieter than usual, reports Frank Kummer for The Philadelphia Inquirer

The noisy members of Brood X (the “X” is the Roman numeral 10, not some kind of sci-fi warning) are the males who, upon reaching adulthood, start serenading potential mates. Their chittery-chattery sound carries far, especially when they court en masse. 

Local numbers may be down, owing to countywide development that removes trees. While underground, the cicadas feed off sap that courses through roots. 

Their entry into Bucks County landscapes will be spotty, according to Jon Gelhaus, curator of entomology at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. “They’re not everywhere,” he said. “Unless you happen to be where a population is emerging, you’d have to go find them.” 

Gelhaus predicts that Quakertown and Lake Noxamixon State Park may be the noisiest with Brood X romantic conversation. For those who find it distracting, fear not: The cicadas start to die off in early July. 

But as they do, their eggs will drop to the ground and burrow in. 

They’ll be onstage throughout the county to sing in spring 2038. 

More information on Breed X cicadas can be found in The Philadelphia Inquirer story

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