Loud Cicadas Sing in American Trees
Water droplets cling to the wings of an adult periodical cicada at Lincoln Memorial Garden and Nature Center on Tuesday, June 4, 2024, in Springfield, Ill. The most noticeable part of the cicada invasion blanketing the central United States is the sound. The songs — only from males — are mating calls. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Loud Cicadas Sing in American Trees

June 14th, 2024

Big bugs called cicadas are all over some places in America. They have wings and the boy cicadas make a very loud noise. The noise is their way of finding a girlfriend. Each kind of cicada makes a different sound. Some cicadas make a noise that goes up and down. Others make a sound like a hum. People can hear different things in the noises. The noises come from a special part of the boy cicadas. It's white and shakes to make the sound loud, like a drum. Cicadas sit on trees and make their noises. They are very loud and fill the air with their music. People think it's like a big, wild concert of nature.
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💭 Discussion Questions

. What are cicadas?
. Why do boy cicadas make noises?
. Where do cicadas make their music?

📖 Vocabulary

🌐 Cultural context

Cicadas are insects common in many parts of the United States. They are known for emerging in large numbers and creating loud sounds, especially in the summer months.

🧠 Further reading

Cicadas are bugs with big eyes and wings. They make very loud noises. They live on trees and drink tree juice. Cicadas lay eggs on tree bark. Some cicadas come out every 13 or 17 years. These cicadas live under the ground before they come out. There are many kinds of cicadas. Most come out in the daytime. Some make noise at dawn or dusk. A few are awake at night.

Insect pheromones
Bugs talk to each other with smells. These smells are called pheromones. Bugs make these smells to tell other bugs something. The smells can say they want to find a friend, live together nicely, mark their space, or find a home or food. A smart man named Adolf Butenandt made the first bug smell in a lab in 1959. Girl butterflies use it to find boy butterflies. People are learning how bugs use these smells. They can use this to help bees find new homes or to stop bugs from hurting plants. This can help stop diseases from spreading too.

Insects are small animals with six legs. They have a hard shell outside their body. They have three main body parts: the head, the middle part, and the back part. Their eyes are made of many small parts. They can smell with their feelers. Insects are everywhere, and there are lots of different kinds. They can be very different from each other. Insects have a special way to feel things and see things. They lay eggs to make baby insects. They breathe through tiny holes in their sides. They grow by changing their shell many times. Some insects change a lot before they become grown-ups. Long ago, there were very big insects. Now, most insects can walk and fly. Some can even swim! Insects were the first to fly a long time ago. They live with plants, and both help each a lot.