We have been deeply immersed in the cicada beat since Brood XIX started to emerge in our yards last week. Some of us now have hundreds of cicada carcasses lining our driveways. Other blogbloggers have dogs who are simultaneously enjoying and regretting their feasts. We can hear them through our windows.

One fell on my head this morning. Gross.

WRAL reported that there could be 1 million cicadas per acre in parts of the Triangle. In elementary school, we tried to collect 1 million soda tabs and failed somewhere in the three hundred thousands. Just imagine jars and jars and jars of soda tabs, and then adding 700,000 more.

G. Edward Johnson, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

It hasn’t snowed here in a number of years, but picture snow falling off your house – only it’s cicadas.

They are very loud

Over the past week, we’ve seen about a dozen questions across Facebook groups and NextDoor that are variants of a theme. Here’s one example.

What is that constant sound (Not cicadas)

It’s a constant droning sound that’s been going on for days but it sounds much louder today. I’m guessing something industrial but it never seems to pause.

A few dozen people proceeded to answer: It is, in fact, cicadas. 

In fact, the answer to all of these real actual questions posed on Chapel Hill social media over the past week is, in fact, cicadas. We’ve rounded them up, obscuring any identifying information about the posters, for a helping FAQ about our current invasion.

Q: Does anyone know anything about the constant noise heard around the Damascus Church/Jones Ferry/University Lake area? Someone said they heard it in Lake Forest as well. I don’t think it’s Merritt’s Quarry or OWASA (full disclosure, I have no idea what noises, if any, either of those places make) and I don’t think it’s the cicada apocalypse .

Any solid information would be great! Thanks.

A: Cicadas

Q: What would dig holes like this? It was under about 6 inches of old leaves, etc.

I’m almost afraid to ask because I’m not done digging in the yard

A: Cicadas, again.

Q:Hey fellow neighbors that live close to me!! Is that creepy sound I hear from my back porch cicadas? Video in comments ( if you can hear it)

A: Yes. Sorry.

Q: Is it high-pitched and mechanical? Because we’re arguing over here about whether the sound near the Carrboro Elementary greenway is a cicada sound we’ve never heard before or if there’s something terribly wrong with the school HVAC somehow

A: Not the HVAC. Cicadas.

Q: Does anyone know the source of the sound coming from the area of dairy and MLK near northern woods subdivision? The sound is constant and mechanical in nature.

A: Cicadas are what you hear.

Q: Does anyone know what that mechanical noise is that starts everyday around 7:30 and goes all day?    I live in Cresset Overlook. It’s very annoying.

A: That mechanical sound is trillions of cicadas chirping.

Q: What is that really annoying noise?

A: Cicadas again. Sorry.

Q: I was literally going insane with the neighbors house alarm going off all day….its the cicadas🤯😳

For those of you who aren’t local, we asked half a dozen people to describe the cicada noise, so you can picture it in your mind. Here’s what they said.

  1. A toy one of our in-laws gave our toddler that made more than one sound for approximately three minutes before it broke.
  2. Fifty delivery trucks backing up at the same time.
  3. Every sound the foaming wand on the espresso machine should not make
  4. Spaceship landing in the backyard
  5. Distant frogs, like the LaCroix of frog sounds – if you think about what a frogs sounds like and that’s what plays in your head
  6. Sorry friends, but it really reminds me of War of the Worlds

The end is near – they will mate, lay eggs, and die. Until then, the answer is always cicadas.

This post was written by Brian Crawford and Melody Kramer.

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