Lehigh Valley

Cicadas emerge in Northampton County

Cicadas emerge in Northampton County

For weeks people have waited. Now quiet, leafy neighborhoods that were buzzing with anticipation are buzzing for real. Northampton County has some noisy newcomers.

"About 2 to 3 weeks ago, that's when it was really bad," explained James Deibert.

Just look down at his yard in Moore Township and you'll know exactly what he's talking about.

"It was crazy," he said. "I really didn't expect what I was going to see."

Hundreds of 17-year cicadas emerged from the ground on his property and made their presence known.

"Well it's loud and it's constant, it's a constant singing," described Deibert. "When we wake up in the morning we hear the singing."

Over the last few weeks, his property was blanketed with the racket from 17-year cicadas. Now it's blanketed with the insect's exoskeletons.

"When I would get up in the morning, on my garage doors, on my driveway, it was coated with cicadas."

This summer's periodical cicadas are part of brood number two, one of 12 remaining documented periodical cicada groups that emerge on their own 17-year cycles. They were last seen in the area in 1996. The insects spend most of their lives underground. We only see the cicadas on the sunny side of the soil for a few weeks, as their adult lives begin and end. They molt, find a mate, lay eggs, then die.

"From what I'm reading they lay the eggs, they drop, go underground and 17 years later come back again," added Deibert.

This year's cicada season is already coming to an end.

"There's other people in Moore Township, friends I have that haven't seen them, haven't heard them, you know, within 2 to 3 miles from here," shared Deibert.

In-fact, neighborhoods that were buzzing with anticipation, aren't buzzing with the bugs at all. Scientists say it's really been a guessing game.

"We don't know exactly where they're going to come up, especially in PA, we don't have good records," added Associate Professor of Biology at Muhlenberg College, Marten Edwards.

Here in the Lehigh Valley it's been even harder to pin-point. But according to experts, if you haven't seen them in your neighborhood yet, they're likely not coming.

For Deibert, he's just enjoying the music while it lasts. We won't see members of this brood again until 2030.

"I think it's great," smiled Deibert. "Only because it's mother nature doing her thing, and that's why we live out in the country, we like everything natural."

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