When we first moved to Missouri, we stayed with my sister and her husband in Illinois for 3 weeks while our house was being readied for move-in. I had never been to this state before, or to Missouri for that matter, so I wasn’t familiar with certain things.
Cicadas were one of those things. I didn’t know anything about cicadas, having been born and raised in good ol’ sunny California. I had seen katydids before but never heard of a cicada. I’ve learned a little since being in “these parts” and now the cicada is just a noisy nuisance.
Annual cicadas are green with bulging black eyes and show up every year but periodical cicadas are orange or brown with red eyes and they show up in swarms. They have very long development cycles and only emerge from the ground when their cycle comes; either 13-years or 17-years. They make a horrendously loud sound and if you want to scare the heck out of a little kid just get close with one of those screaming things!
Cicadas are a great food source for wildlife and they don’t bite. They are not harmful to the environment, unlike locusts. People often confuse the two but locusts are a type of grasshopper while the cicada is the cousin of the cricket.
Now, I have a silly story for you, followed by a couple of videos for informational purposes.
One evening, I was standing at the back door of my sister’s farmhouse. I heard this awful sound and it seemed like it was coming from the power pole just at the edge of the yard. I thought there must be a problem with the power line or something. It was extremely loud and sounded like a vibrating buzz…what electricity might sound like, if that makes sense… I told my brother-in-law, “Mike, I think there’s a problem with your power line.” He put his arm around me and said, “Debbie, those are cicadas.” He grinned from ear to ear! When he told me it was a bug I thought he was screwing with me. I mean, how the hell can a little insect make a noise like that? He was serious and I felt so stupid!
Don’t laugh too hard at my ignorance! If you don’t know something how can you know it, right?! Check out the videos below!
Here in the first video, if you start at around 1:54 you’ll get a good idea of the individual sound. You may think, oh that’s no big deal but these insects are extremely loud, especially when they are in swarms!
This video below shows the cicada from the time they emerge from the ground to the end of their life cycle. Very interesting but rather creepy!
So, while you may have had a good laugh at my expense, maybe you also learned something from the videos! How’d you like those red eyes?