Cicada Summer

Black Prince
Black Prince
The Black Prince – just one of many Cicadas Angus loves to eat

I can’t quite remember when the hellish noise started. Perhaps early December? It began innocently enough – the sound of summer – but then it rose to levels that were just, well, downright rude. If you’ve been in Sydney or the Central Coast you’ll know I’m referring to the Cicada.

To be quite blunt – I’m so over the noisy f*@^&rs – I mean do you really have to start that racket at 5.00am and then build in crescendo as the day gets hotter and hotter and more and more oppressive? Apparently yes – that’s their modus operandi.

Temperature appears to be an important factor in the racket – I mean the cicada call. I have read that the noise ceases if the temperature falls below 15 degrees — unfortunately that isn’t going to happen in an Australian summer – day or night.

Apparently only the males call and it is primarily to attract a mate. Thank goodness the other half of the population don’t join in.

There are many species of Cicadas – probably around 700 across Australia. Here on the Central Coast there are about 35 different species. Each one has its own distinctive call which is produced by vibrating a pair of ribbed membranes at the base of the abdomen.

I guess they are quite cool to look at with their big bug eyes in reds, blacks and greens and oranges. Their wings are actually a work of art – Art Deco in style and so elegant like dragonfly wings.  It’s just a pity they are so unsociably noisy.

If you have never heard a wave of Cicadas try to imagine white noise emanating from the trees and the air all around you – like static from the radio or TV but amplified to the point it makes your eardrums twinge – and make it last all day! To add insult to injury the little blighters excrete the sap they drink from trees and you think – ah blessed relief it’s raining. No just a cicada pee shower!

The racket makes it impossible to sit outside to enjoy the sunsets. Your ears are bleeding by the time you pop the cork and offer up a couple of glasses. Conversation is out the window unless you’re comfortable saying ‘what’s that?’ about ten times a minute.

The racket started at a point when we were trying to introduce the back Deck to Angus as a possible hang out place for him during the summer days (under shade and adjoining the back office and bedrooms). However, given pups have such sensitive ears – and Angus’s being larger and more sensitive than most – it was never going to work. He was pained by the whole experience so we gave up on that ‘socialisation’ experiment. We’re still waiting weeks later for the nightmare to end.

We began to wonder if we had made a huge mistake in buying in this area surrounded by trees, but a neighbour has reliably informed me that the last time it was this bad was 10 years ago. That ties in with reports that this year was a bumper season for Cicadas – so I’ll be monitoring the situation closely next year. I’ll get back to you on that one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *