TBGDN's blog: CICADAS: NATURE'S ALARM CLOCKS, NOISE MAKERS & SUMMER SOUNDS

Posted on Aug 7, 2015 10:52 AM

Thumb of 2015-08-07/TBGDN/1464fdSince childhood I've been curious about these 'wierdos of nature'. I can recall hot summer afternoons when the incessant buzzing could be heard from almost every tree top. It seems one would wind down its 'Zzzzzzzzz' symphony of noisy irritation, and then another one would begin its refrain from a different tree. The pitch and volume of sound would begin as a low 'rattling buzz', then gradually accelerate to very high volume, and finally a descending tone down to zero. These sounds of mid and late summer were likely ignored by most, but not me. It seems even now, as well as then, they kept making this monotonous racket from morning sunlight until evening sunset! I remember asking in childhood innocence about them only to get a half-dozen different answers from as many adults! Some referred to them as 'locusts' or 'jar flies' while others said they were 'katydids' or some other insect. For unknown reasons I failed to explore and research more this mystery insect until later years. And just recently while re-planting irises my plant label served as a transformation rest stop for one of these little noise makers! It was then I remembered a few years back having taken some pictures of them in various stages of emergence from their larval shell. While the subject of cicadas might not appeal to most gardeners, I find it interesting the way it fits into the scheme of nature.

Thumb of 2015-08-07/TBGDN/1c6cdc Thumb of 2015-08-07/TBGDN/5ed7faI remember once in the 1990's watching an outdoor live press briefing at the White House where reporters scrambled to ask questions about some scandal that was then 'allegedly' breaking. Answers were as usual vague, and almost inaudible because of the sounds of numerous cicadas coming from the surrounding trees. This appeared to me quite humorous since the cicadas seemed to be aiding the futile efforts of the white house staffer to minimize any appearance of 'alleged scandal'! Most would think this 'cover-up' of hundreds of insects was pre-planned or pre-meditated. But, just how preposterous would that be: An act of nature conspiring with politicians? I don't think so. The pictures accompanying this paragraph were ones I had archived from 2009. They clearly show the cicadas morphing from the shell casings of their larval stage into their more adult recognizable forms. While this process might seem grotesque to some I find it very educational and enlightening.

Thumb of 2015-08-07/TBGDN/210594 Thumb of 2015-08-07/TBGDN/ecb5b6Once again summer has prompted me to think about planning for its end! I am reminded of this when I begin to hear the cicadas performing their annual songs of 'doom'. I understand they emerge from their larval stage of metamorphosis; and then complete their life cycles in treetops where the males make their loud noises to attract females. Now, I do not claim to be a rocket scientist, biology professor or entomologist! My thoughts here are based solely on what I have seen, heard & briefly researched; and the related facts are available to everyone by means of internet and endless on-line resources. Simply put, I only want to share a few parting thoughts on this subject. The main idea for me is that summer has begun to grow 'old' when these sounds begin to be heard. It is always with a little sadness that my calendar says 'August': I dread the coming winter, but want to enjoy an autumn of outdoors, trees and Indian summer. (I am editing this post on September 25, 2017 to add a link which illustrates the incessant buzzing of these insects.) Click here for a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...


Thumb of 2015-08-07/TBGDN/6a2ec3 Thumb of 2019-03-23/TBGDN/c50157 Thumb of 2015-08-07/TBGDN/95e2b3Hello, and welcome to my blog. I am known as "TBGDN" an acronym meaning "Tall Bearded Iris Gardener". I tend to be a "Jack of all trades", but master of none. My first love is to be outdoors at every possible moment. I belong in my spirit and soul to the woodlands, fields, lakes and streams which are abundant here, or at least adequate. I especially enjoy animals, birds and plant life which abound in these places. I realize we are all put together somewhat differently in body, mind and spirit; yet we share so many common interests. Thanks for stopping by & I hope you'll visit again.

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Of June Bugs and Katydids by Sharon Aug 7, 2015 3:45 PM 3

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