Cicada Noise

Crazy for 4 weeks!

Some common names for the cicada.

Cicada. Locust. Jar flies. Dry flies. The cicada is a large noisy grasshopper like insect with big bugging eyes and unique see through wings who leaves ugly shell on upright trees, poles, and weeds or any tall stuff.

Cicadas are a world wide delicacy…skewered or fried…in some places, but not in my house.

Egg emerging Cicada drop from twigs

As white lice like larvae and burrow into the ground to suck on a root where they stay for a while…some 3 years…some 13 years or 15 years or 17 years….many times by many different species…but they all know to crawl out of a hole and make a noisy whine, all at the same time. Cicadas leave (molt) their empty shell wherever it is attached when they molt…usually a tree or pole or weed…which really look strange just attached here and there by the hundreds and more hundreds. The picture below shows a cicada and the shell it just emerged from.

cicada and shell on tree

Cicadas are not pests. They live only a few noisy weeks and die and decompose if the fox and skunks and other insect eaters don’t dine on them first.

So why do cicadas all emerge at the same time and drive us crazy with their whining singing annoying sounds?

cicada and shells-lots of them

No one is certain. Cicadas have emergent cycles that vary because the cicada is avoiding a frequency that a predator can figure it out and devour the delicious cicada meal. Their internal timing is just so accurate…like over 17 years…that they all tunnel up and out at the same time…is just plain amazing. They tunnel up and out…fly about

…find a mate…then mate…then lay eggs in slits in trees…and die.

All the while singing. Go figure.