Insects We See and Hear in the Summer Months
These insects are commonly heard in the summer buzzing or singing in trees. Cicadas are 1-1/2 to 2 inches long with thick bodies and bulging eyes. The most common species in lower elevations of Arizona is the Apache cicada, which is dark-colored with a pale tan band just behind the head. The adult males produce the loud, shrill noise to attract females. The male Cicada may be the loudest insect known to man, their shrill can be heard as far away as 400 yards. Cicadas are not harmful to humans in any way. They do not bite or carry diseases. The cicadas spend most of their lives as immature’s, feeding underground on the roots of trees or other perennials. The immature’s move out of the soil during summer evenings, starting in June about Father’s Day. They leave behind holes about one half inch in diameter. They crawl up nearby tree trunks, plants or buildings and cling there. If you watch, eventually the back of the nymph begins to split open and the adult winged cicada emerges. Homeowners often find the leftover skins attached to foundations or trees. Cicada adults live three to four weeks. After mating, the female cuts open twigs with her saw-like egg-laying apparatus, and deposits her eggs in the slits. When the eggs hatch, the nymphs drop to the ground and burrow into the soil in search of food.
The species of cicada found in Arizona finish their life cycles in two or three years. There is one species found east of the Mississippi, however, called the 17-year cicada. The immature’s of this species stay underground, feeding away on tree roots, for 17 years! Then, using some clue that is not yet well understood, all the adults come out at the same time to mate and lay eggs for the next generation