Singing for Love

Do you know what a cicada is? It’s a kind of beetle which lives in the ground. At some appointed time, it drills its way to the surface and usually climbs into shrubs or trees where it commences to “sing” its heart out. It’s looking for love.

If it gets lucky and hooks up with the cicada of the opposite sex, the female will lay eggs under the bark of the tree or shrub where she’s perched. Then, her job done, she falls off and dies. The male already died after he serviced the female.

When the baby cicadas hatch, they fall off the shrub or tree branches and burrow down in the earth. I’m not sure what they do down there but at the next appointed interval, they’ll make their way to the surface and repeat their parents’ lives.

This is the year for the 13-year cicada to come to the surface. They are singing their hearts out. You’ve never heard such noisy insects. All day long they sing. You’d think they’d get laryngitis at some point but no, they sing.

It seems to me they’ve started earlier than usual this year. They’ll keep this up until late in the summer. Their singing is definitely a “sound of summer” in this area.

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2 Responses to Singing for Love

  1. fillyjonk says:

    Big scary things too, if they happen to fly at your face when you’re outside. (They don’t come after people but sometimes they do run into you when they’re flying.)

    I heard the first one of the summer here on Sunday. I don’t think it’s an “outbreak” year here for them but we get at least a few every year.

  2. Anne says:

    My sister the entomologist just told me the young cicadas burrow into the ground and attach to the tree roots. That’s how they’re able to live for 13 years. The injection of eggs can result in natural pruning of large trees and in the killing of small trees.

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