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Cicadas – Noisy Sap Suckers!

There are about 2,500 species of cicada on planet earth. They hang out in temperate and tropical climates. Cicadas are recognizable because they are big, very ugly, and even noisier.

Melampsalta montana, is the species of Cicada found throughout Europe.

After mating, the female lays eggs on tree branches. Once hatched, Cicada nymphs drop to the ground and burrow.
Most cicadas have a life cycle of two to five years, some North American species have a life cycle of up to 17 years. During the majority of this time Cicadas live underground as nymphs, at depths of 1 to 8 feet, they live by sucking sap from tree roots.

Once their time has come the nymphs dig a tunnel to reach the surface. Once above grade, their first task is to shed their skins and unfold their wings. Their second task consists of making as much noise as possible, attract a mate, and get busy. The locals here in the South of France have told us that the “noisy season” starts in the beginning of July and lasts for about 6 weeks.

Male cicadas have structures on their abdominals called “tymbals”. By flexing their abs, male Cicadas can really rock it. Some Cicadas can produce sounds up to 120 dB (the same sound intensity as a jet plane at take off!).
Don’t get to close – permanent damage to your hearing may occur!

You get quite the racket when you have several thousand male Cicadas all trying to outperform each other. Even when driving at highway speeds you can hear the noise as you pass by groves of trees. (At first I thought the car was on the fritz!).

The only reason we are able to get some sleep at night here at the Vineyard housesit, is the volume of the Cicada symphony is dependent on the air temperature. The hotter the temperature the louder the Cicadas. As the evening cools off all the worn out Bugs have a good nights sleep in preparation for a busy day of getting busy!

About the author: Michael was born under a wanderin’ star. He is an Engineer who became an explorer, a photography bug, and hack traveller writer with the propensity to be snarky. “Retired” in 2012 at the age of 44, he and his wife Yvonne travel and house sit around the globe on a full time basis. Michael’s goal is to share the process of escaping the rat race, exploring the globe, and some of the experiences along the way.

3 comments… add one
  • Debra Roed

    Note to self: visit south of France after Cicadas leave.

    • Michael Bauche

      The Cicadas are not that bad that you would postpone a visit to the South of France. After a while you don’t hear them anyways!

  • I think the male cicada is creepy! At night they are so noisy there is one right outside house on a tree. Soooo gross

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