Summer heat means Dog-Day Cicadas


Terre Haute, Ind. (WTHI) – Have you seen these big eyed buzzing bugs cruising through your trees? Well I know you’ve heard this summer song, it’s the sound of Cicadas. And you might be wondering, ‘hey, I thought these come out once every decade,’ not the case says Biology expert Peter Coppinger

When people think of the cicada they think of the 17 year old cicadas, but there are cicadas that come out every year, and they are called annual cicadas,” explained Peter Coppinger, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology at Rose-Hulman.

“In the dog days of summer they come out climb up in the trees and then cicadas emerge from a slit in the back”

Now that sounds a bit frightening, is that what causes those deafening noises?

“So when you hear the buzzing of cicadas, that’s the males, they join in like a chorus to attract females,” stated Coppinger.

Kind of like a whistle, smooth move cicadas. But that call comes straight from their stomach.

“Cicadas have a special membrane in their abdomen that vibrates back and fourth called a tymbal, it’s a sound that can be deafening,” explained Coppinger.

Besides the noise, they’re rather harmless.

“Now they look scary with those big claws, but they actually just suck the SAP from trees,” explained Coppinger.

Now who would have thought this would be A Sap Story about Cicadas.

Now the Cicadas that come out in huge waves that we tend to associate with are periodical Cicadas. The date for those to emerge is 20-21. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you confirm your email address and acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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