Young bug lover happy as cicada Brood XIII emerges

Entomophobia sufferers, have you had enough of the cicada Brood XIII?

One Homewood girl is very happy about the sudden abundance of the bugs that emerged the week of May 19 after their long sleep. 

Eleanor Dickover, right, explains the nature of cicadas during STEM Saturday at the Homewood Science Center on April 27, while, from left, Mary Beth Sterner, Abraham Henscheid, Celeste Quinones-Foster and Lydia Quinones-Foster listen. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Budding entomologist Eleanor Dickover offered a poster session on cicadas during the Homewood Science Center’s STEM Saturday on April 27 to help young and old understand what happened when millions of cicadas emerged after their 17 years underground. 

Eleanor has been part of the science center’s conservation ecology internship for middle school students for several years. She said she has been interested in insects since she was about 3 years old. 

A cicada makes a human friend after emerging from the ground
on May 17. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

“At first what I liked was dinosaurs, then I switched to bugs,” she said. “I like to focus on cicadas. Other bugs are cute, but cicadas are my favorite bug.”

While a slide show rotated through images and information about cicadas in the background, she explained to kids and parents who stopped by her table that cicadas are not dangerous to humans. They don’t bite or sting. She told one mother not to worry if a cicada got on her.

“It feels like a little prickly feeling,” she said.

Eleanor shared a coloring page with an outline of a cicada along with facts about the creatures. 

  • Cicadas have one of the longest life spans of any insect.
  • More than 3,000 species of cicadas exist.
  • They can buzz louder than a lawnmower.
  •  Their wings repel water and bacteria.
  • Cicadas are a great food source for birds and other animals.

She also provided a handout from the University of Illinois Extension that included more details about the current emergence.

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