photo by Andrew McKinlay CC BY-NC

Cicadas are large insects (1-2 in) with big eyes in a broad head with short antennae and 4 clear, veined wings.You have probably heard them as the males make a loud noise to attract females, usually by vibrating a pair of structures behind the wings that resemble small drums. The noise resembles the buzz of overhead power lines and is so loud it can be heard at a distance of 1½ miles.

Cicadas are found in grasslands and forests across the United States and southern Canada as well as in Alaska and the Northwest Territories. They spend most of their lives as juvenile nymphs in underground burrows where they suck nectar from plant roots. The adults come above ground from July to September but only live for about a month, long enough to mate and lay eggs. Annual cicada, the only kind found in Canada, appear every year. Periodical cicada time their adult emergence to appear all at once every 13 or 17 years.

Did you know? Unlike Grasshoppers and Crickets, Cicadas are not able to hop. They usually fly as they don’t run or walk well.

See Also: Cricket, Grasshopper, Katydid