The sound of summer.

The most memorable sound of summer is not that Journey album that you had to stop playing because cars don’t have tape decks anymore. It is the rhythmic and soothing sound of the cicada. If you live in a place where you don’t hear cicadas in the summer, you probably don’t have enough exposed soil or trees around you and you need to move. Located all over the United States these insects spend most of their life underground as a grub (nymph phase) and emerge to serenade us (rather lady cicadas) and mate. You have probably heard of the species (Magicicadas) that spend a whopping 17 years underground before gracing us land lubbers with their song. However, there are numerous other species that live only one year and then emerge.

Tibicen superbus Wikimedia commons

Tibicen superbus Wikimedia commons

They appear in large numbers and seem to swarm the forest or neighborhood all at once. Sometime in May when the weather is just getting warm, before the humidity hits, the cicadas emerge and sing their first song. The first night may be slightly quieter than normal as they are all still growing their wings and drying out. However, as the weeks continue the sounds grow louder each night. Something happens, unknowingly, that time of year. Our thoughts turn to ice cream, poolside bbq’s, and shorts. The days stretch in length and it seems we are given the gift of more time. That sound to me meant an extra hour of biking afterschool and more time spend shoeless in the backyard.  Now it means much of the same, hot days and warm nights.

Texas sees a few species of cicadas but the most common one is the Tibicen superbus. If you catch one on the ground their beautiful green color is noticeable against the brown soil.