Can You Hear Me Now? The Cicadas Are Calling!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Elevations Real Estate, LLC

Can You Hear Me Now?  The Cicadas Are Calling!

It is that time of year in the Foothills of Northern Colorado when some very interesting creatures take to the airwaves! The sound they make is strangely identical to the 'tic-tic-tic' an electronic igniter makes on gas stoves or propane grills.  This guy was in the middle of moltingMolting Putnam Cicada from his nymphal stage.  The nymphs spend between 2 and 5 years under ground living (harmlessly) off of tree root sap and shrub roots.  

Based on some quick research thanks to the Colorado State University Extension, I think these are the "Putnam's Cicada" or Platypedia Putnami.  These guys are distinguished from their "Dog Day" cousins by that distinctive clicking sound I was talking about.  The "Dog Day" Cicadas or Tibicen dorsatus, T. dealbatus, are those ginormous bugs (2 inches or more) often mistakenly called locusts that have that grinding, whirring, sawing sound we all hear during the "Dog Days" of midsummer.  These are widely scattered across the plains and prefer Cottonwood and Maple trees to do their singing, eating, and mating.

As a fly-fisherman - I've seen the frenzy of hungry trout when cicadas come out in large numbers.  With a bug that big, a Adult Putnam Cicadatrout is willing to come out of hiding and leap out of the water to take one of these bugs that misses a branch and lands in the water.  Throwing one of those on the line and having a scrappy Rainbow steal line from the reel is well.... friggin' exhilarating!!

Don't worry, the 'singing' only lasts for a couple of weeks as the adults mate and then die shortly after the females lay their eggs.  For those of you on the plains - you've got a few more weeks before their bigger cousins come to life!!  Ahh, SUMMER is HERE!!

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Comments (4)

Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

They're here in Northern Virginia.  Not too loud where I live although I'm in a rural area.  At the Skeet Range, however, they're a lot louder.  The Northern Virginia Reagonal Park is huge with lots of ground/trees and bugs.

Jun 09, 2013 08:42 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Chris:  I have been in parts of the country when the noise these cicadas make is absolutely deafening... and that is not an exaggeration.

Jun 09, 2013 09:33 AM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Haven't heard the Cicadas in a long time.  We have them at the North Carolina house.  They do make great Fish Bait!

Jun 09, 2013 11:37 AM
Chris Hardy
Elevations Real Estate, LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Real Estate
Lenn and Karen- I've read that the 13 and 17 year periodic cicadas can really be a plague! That also accounts for why early settlers called them Locusts! Thanks for reading and comments! Thanks, Fred. Yes, when the Cicada 'hatch' is on the fishing is crazy! Thanks for stopping by.
Jun 09, 2013 03:04 PM