August is well known for high-pitched buzzing sounds coming from the trees. That lovely sound is cicadas. They are insects that look like huge house flies. The male cicadas sing by flexing their tymbals, which are drum-like organs found in their abdomens. The sound is amplified by the cicada’s mostly hollow abdomen, very similar to an acoustic guitar. Female and some male cicadas will also make a sound by flicking their wings, but it isn’t the same as the sound for which cicadas are known.
Cicadas begin life as a small egg which resembles the shape of a grain of rice. The female deposits in a small notch she makes in a tree limb. Once the cicada hatches from the egg, it begins feeding on the tree fluids. Small cicadas look like termites or small white ant.
The cicada eventually crawls out of the notch in the tree limb and falls to the ground where it starts digging to find roots to feed. Starting with grass roots, and working its way up to the roots of the host tree.
Cicada will then stay underground from 2 to 17 years depending on the species. Cicadas spend all this time tunneling and feeding.
After the long period spent underground, cicadas finally emerge as nymphs. They climb the nearest available tree to begin to shedding their nymph exoskeleton.
Finally free of their old skin, their wings inflate with fluid and their adult skin begins to harden. With their new wings and body, they are ready to begin their brief adult life looking for a mate. They males sing, and females respond, mating begins, and the cycle begins again.