Have you started to enjoy the silence in the evenings? Brood X cicadas have gone away, which has left many in their path breathing a sigh of relief. The noisy bugs are very annoying to many and luckily they seem to go away as fast as they appear. However, there are more on the way. This time a screaming variety.
This new wave of cicadas is called the dog-day cicada for emerging in the hottest months of the year. Brood X was the largest of these 17-year varieties of cicadas, but these larger ones don’t take so long. These cicadas are usually referred to as annual versions, but they take 2-3 years to develop. There is no synced-up population like the cicadas that wait longer.
These cicadas are a favorite prey of the killer wasp. Killer wasps feed on the dog-day cicadas, but not the periodical varieties. These cicadas, much like the 17-year cicadas, like to fly around and scream. The males “sing” to the females, but not nearly in the same numbers as the periodical ones. For those of you who like to sleep with the windows open in the summer, this next wave just might be singing you to sleep over the next few weeks or more.
If you think about the periodical variety, they have red eyes and are much different looking than the dog-day variety. The dog-day cicadas will have black eyes and potentially be longer. While cicadas can be incredibly annoying, they do provide some good to the ecosystem. Both the periodical and annual varieties help out in multiple ways.
Screaming Cicadas are Good, Really
Look, these things can be super annoying. I get it. The buzz and rattle of the bugs can get overwhelming in certain instances. However, the cicadas do plenty besides fly around and scream. That is only a very small part of what they accomplish in their lives.
Periodical ones will spend 17-years underground. While down there, they don’t just hibernate and wait for the day they will emerge. Cicadas feed on tree root sap while in their flightless forms. They also go around and dig tunnels throughout the ground. This allows the soil to aerate better and keeps it nice and healthy.
Both periodical and the annual variety are temperature sensitive. Neither will emerge until the temperature is just right and they can come out of the ground without worrying about freezing. When these bugs emerge from the earth, they are not in their final form of course. They must shed their molt their final time, leaving behind their iconic shells, and take to the trees once their exoskeletons harden. This is where the males perform their mating calls.
While the periodical cicadas are gone, keep an eye and an ear out for the annual variety. They will sound a lot more familiar and more docile than the Brood X swarm we had just about a month ago.