The first time we visited KY was nearly ten years ago, and a memory from that trip that makes us laugh when we recall it involves trying to figure out the source of a weird sound we kept hearing. It was a low, constantly-occurring, almost electrical buzzing, like high-tension power lines. But there weren’t power lines around where we kept hearing it.
We were determined to find the source of that noise. The sound clearly came from overhead, in the tree canopy. While there were no likely suspects – birds? – to be seen, there were owl statues in the trees. Hmm…could there be speakers in or around the fake owls emitting those sounds to scare off birds?
While that hypothesis seemed plausible to a couple of out-of-towners, we were totally off the mark. An internet search revealed that insects were the source of the sound. With the culprit identified, we set about trying to find one.
Cicadas are very difficult to spot in trees since they’re so well-camouflaged. We were excited to find a shed skin first and then an actual (dead) greenish-brown cicada.
Since we moved here, we’ve seen many cicadas. Last year, we spotted a muddy, freshly-emerged cicada on the back of a fence post. This week, we spied the nice specimen in the photos. Even if you’re not a big fan of bugs, you have to admit that this summer’s cicada is neat looking. Look at those huge eyes! And the green lacing on the wings!
Now, when we hear that metallic buzz that seems to move from tree to tree, we know it’s cicadas, evoking thoughts of hot, humid summer days. A unique sound – likened to “a circular saw cutting wood” – for a unique creature. We’ll enjoy the sounds of these dog-day cicadas (aptly named) while they’re here, roughly through September. When they’re gone, summer will pretty much be over.