Right around sunset, with the orange glow of the sun descending below the horizon the all too familiar sound of cicadas bugs rev up their muscles .
This nightly ritual of the summer rhythm of high pitch rattling sounds, like a guiro block with its raised ridges being scraped with a stick, is a summer comfort.
The insect songs goes hand in hand with summer pasts and I find myself sitting outside nightly, relaxing in my backyard enjoying their company. In the early morning you can still hear a few along the hiking trails.
There are over 2,500 species of cicada bugs living in the world and Arizona is home to 50 of those species. It is no doubt you likely have cicadas in your own backyard at this moment.
Early Life (2- 17 years)
Cicadas eggs are deposited into grooves along tree branches. Once born the larva grows and feeds of the trees fluid. The young cicada will look like a white ant at this stage. From this point it will head towards the ground and begin digging under the earth.
A cicada bug is actually active under the ground. A common misconception is that they spend years hibernating but that is not the case. Instead they are roaming around, creating underground tunnels in search of finding roots to feed off of.
The cicada will remain under ground anywhere between 2 to 17 years.
Mid Life (a few hours)
Once the cicada is ready, it will emerge out of the ground. At this point it is still white and has an exoskeleton. It will begin to climb up a tree, where it will transform into an adult.
Adult Life (3-4 weeks)
The exoskeleton will begin to shed, exposing the bugs wings and black body. From here, it will only have about three to four weeks of life left.
The cicada will typically spend the majority of their remaining time in trees, singing the songs of summer in the hopes to attract a mate.
So, tonight as the sun is going down, take a step outside and listen to their song. They’ve spent a lot of time, waiting for you to hear it.
For more information and pictures of the cicada life cycle, click this link here