Let's learn about the cicadas

Cicadas are insects belonging to the Cycadid family and to the Rhynchota order. Over 1500 species are part of the Cycadidae family, but the best known are those that come out of the ground after 17 years. A cicada is about 2 to 5 centimeters long and has a color ranging from green to darker shades, up to brown or black. The cicadas are known for their song. The sound apparatus, visible on the sides of the abdomen, is composed of sheets stretched by the tendons that connect them to the muscles. The movement of the muscles causes the laminae to move, producing the sound that is amplified by the air inside the abdomen. The sound emission of cicadas is unique among insects, differentiating itself from the other sounds that are usually produced by rubbing. In addition to their singing, it is possible to discover their presence through ants, since these are greedy for the sugary substance released by the cicada when it sucks the sap from the tree. Taking the sap, they cause damage to the vegetation and in particular you can notice discoloration, desiccation and malformations (curls and swellings) of the leaves.

The cicada's song is a call to mate. The male sings to recall the female and woo her. Mating lasts at least half an hour and in the following 24 hours the female lays the eggs in the stems of the herbaceous plants or in the dry branches, grouping them inside cells containing from 4 to 12 eggs. Immediately after the male specimen dies, while the female waits to lay her eggs to die too. Nymphs are born from the eggs that will live underground for several years. The underground life can last from 1 to 17 years. The research has no definite results on how the nymphs of a generation come to the surface in the same period. They are thought to have a biological clock that regulates evolution. Leaving the subsoil, the cicadas differ from the adult specimens, since they have no wings and are equipped with sturdy legs to climb trees. To neutralize the presence of cicadas you can use an insecticide based on pyrethrum (spraying it on the trees in the early hours of the morning) or you can place ultrasound devices in the garden capable of removing them without causing damage to the plants.The life of a cicada

Leaving the subsoil, the cicadas climb a tree to moult. After just a few hours they can fly for the first time. Initially they are characterized by very light colors that will become darker in the presence of sunlight. The noisy chirping of cicadas, characteristic of a beautiful summer day, is actually the only song of the male specimens, since they have the task of attracting the females for mating. A cicada adult feeds little and exclusively on tree sap. His adult existence is dedicated to the love song. The life of cicadas, compared to a life cycle of other living beings, may seem very short. In reality his life begins with fertilization, he continues as a nymph underground and ends up on the surface, not before having generated new life. The adult specimens live on the trees and feed on sucking the sap of the plants, while the nymphs attack the roots. If present in large numbers, they can cause permanent damage to the vegetation, but are harmless to humans. A remedy to avoid a summer invasion is to control the soil in the spring and eliminate the nymphs.

Cicale: Myths and stories

The summer season resounds with the love song of the cicadas, which can reach 100 decibels. The females also emit sounds, to attract the partner and to defend themselves from predators. If for some it may be pleasant to hear their song, for others it is very annoying. To remove them you can use ultrasound devices, since some frequencies give them considerable discomfort and makes them move away. The cicadas are protagonists of stories. The ancient Greeks said that the cicadas were previously human beings in love with music. The muses turned them into animals that could devote their lives to singing, or the cicadas. According to the Chinese they symbolize the resurrection, since they live only one summer and are reborn from the earth in the next one. In ancient times some beliefs maintained that the cicadas had no blood and only fed on water and not having to expel excrement, they remained pure. On the other hand, despite the fact that for some they were the symbol of purity, of resurrection to new life or of poetry and music, for others they represented the uncertainty, precisely because of their way of living by singing alone, ignoring all the rest.