Sunday, July 15, 2012

* Nostalgic Sunday *

It's Time for Another Nostalgic Sunday

Cicadas Vs. Locusts

I discovered a few years ago that the creatures I've known my entire life as locusts, are really cicadas. But since my parents, grandparents, neighbors, and other relatives all called them locusts, and that's all I've ever known, I cannot and will not call them anything different now! 

Right before I wrote this post, I looked online to see if I could find an article concerning other people being confused about this, too. I found the following blog post from Ben's Questions and Answers Blog - July 2005:

~~ Someone asked me what the difference is between a cicada and a locust. Initially I was surprised by the question, as I have always seen them to be two completely different species of insects, however, it seems that many people refer to cicadas as locusts.

Since there is obviously some question about what a locust is let's first settle that. A locust is a type of grasshopper, more specifically, a locust is a short horned grasshopper. A long horned grasshopper is known as a katydid or, more commonly, just a grasshopper.

In parts of Australia, and the USA, cicadas are often known as locusts, however, a cicada is an entirely different type of insect than the locust or the grasshopper. The cicada is related to the aphid and comes in two varieties; the annual and the periodical cicada. The annual cicada has a lifecycle which repeats annually, i.e. they breed and hatch once per year. The periodical cicada may have either a 17 or 13 year lifecycle and spend the time between breeding buried in the ground until billions of individuals hatch in unison. This gives rise to the name thirteen year locust and seventeen year locust. ~~

So, what does this have to do with Nostalgic Sunday? Every year of my life, I've loved the sound the "locusts" make in the summer evenings. It brings back so many wonderful memories. It usually began when it wasn't totally dark yet, but the lightening bugs had appeared. When I was really young, my brother and I, and the neighborhood kids would all run around chasing those lightening bugs, trying to catch one in the cups of our hands. While that was going on, a few locusts would start up their singing-sawing noises and more would join in, until there was a full orchestra of them. Almost as quickly as they started, they would fade away, only to start all over again. 

That usually happened in late summer....August....which meant it was a bittersweet chorus. They were signaling the end of summer, a magical season for so many children, and one of those children was me.  

** July 16 Note: I searched online this morning for a noise clip and found a great one here: 
It says something about a Download, but you don't need to do anything. The sound begins right after you click on the link. Enjoy!! 

P.S. This year's early start to spring and summer, and our ongoing heat wave has totally mixed up those creatures. They started their chanting about a week ago, not even the middle of July yet. 

"Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well." -- George R.R. Martin