Long Awaited Concert

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When I came home today, I was greeted by a high-pitched humming music. The sound was loud enough that I felt the whole neighborhood was buzzing.

No, it was not an out-of-control orchestra. Nor a marching band that went bonkers.

It was a mass choir of cicadas.

As I went out in our yard, I really felt the vibrating noise, especially when I walked under the trees. I saw cicadas everywhere.

On the tree.


On the grass.


And even on my hand.


There are many species of cicadas. What is appearing this time here in Iowa is the 17-year variety of these noisy insects. That means this certain species had disappeared for a long time. For seventeen years they have vanished out of sight and lived under the ground in hushed darkness.

But now they are out. They have emerged. And in swarm.

swarm of cicadas on our tree
swarm of cicadas on our tree

After long years of silence they are singing their song. Happily and loudly. At least it is better than the song I heard recently from the Philippine senate that was part of a privilege speech.

Humans sing when we stretch and vibrate our vocal cords. Crickets produce their sound by rubbing their wings. Cicadas on the other hand sing by vibrating two ribbed membrane in their belly, and their hollow abdominal cavity amplifies the sound greatly. Some species can register more than 100 decibel when singing. Come to think of it, my belly also rumbles loudly when I am hungry.

And what are these chirpy cicadas singing about? It is actually a love song. They are calling for their mate. Some love songs can make you cry. Some love songs can pierce your ears.

With all the throng of merry cicadas singing, I admit the sound can be deafening. But I will enjoy this special concert while it last. For I have to wait another seventeen years to listen to this remarkable event.

Here’s a sample of their lively music.



  1. Nice! I wonder what made them come out from the ground. Weather change? We call them “gangis” in Cebuano. They sure makes loud sounds for such tiny insects.

    1. Nobody is really sure why this “periodical” cicadas spent such long years burrowed in the ground. Nobody is sure either why they synchronously emerge at a specific time. Some specific species come out every 13 or 17 years. Maybe the “dwende” underground set them free at such appointed time. 🙂

      1. LOL that is funny! I haven’t thought of that. Anyway, nice post. I enjoyed looking at the photos and the video.

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