We’re in the midst of the dog-days of summer, and the annual “dogday cicadas” are singing up a storm.
Cicadas are often called locusts, but they really aren’t. Locusts are grasshoppers. Cicadas belong to a different group of insects. Right now we have two kinds of cicadas (same genus, different species) making all the noise; a slightly larger, golden-brown with white spots one and a drab, greenish one. The green one has a higher pitched song.
Only male cicadas sing, in order to attract females.
Immature, nymphal, cicadas live underground for three years where they feed on the sap of roots, then emerge to become adults. Nymphal skins can be seen clinging to trees, branches, posts and other upright or horizontal objects.
Along with cicadas comes the cicada killer, our largest wasp. The wasp catches and stings a cicada, paralyzing it, then takes it back to its nest in the ground. The female lays eggs on the cicada and when the larvae hatch, they feed on the stunned cicada.
Don’t be alarmed by the huge cicada killer, though. It won’t bother us, just cicadas.
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