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What about cicadas?

Cicadas are not Orthopterans at all but are actually members of the order Hemiptera (true bugs) and suborder Auchenorrhyncha. They are in the same superfamily as leafhoppers; tiny singers whose songs are far too high for any human to hear.

Cicadas’ song-producing instruments are very different from those of crickets and katydids. They make their sound with a vibrating abdominal membrane called a tymbal.

Although we may have learned otherwise, cicadas are NOT locusts. Locusts are grasshoppers.

Our widespread cicada species are the Swamp Cicada and the Linne’s Cicada. They can be heard in relatively urban areas if there are suitable trees, in suburbs, woodlands, and even meadows that have scattered tall trees. Swamp Cicadas (pictured below) may also be discovered in meadows, likely on goldenrod stems and scattered meadow shrubs.


Swamp Cicada 65F - Recording by Lisa Rainsong

We also have Lyric Cicadas, though they are less common.  The songs of all three species may seem similar at first, but they can be distinguished with practice.

Our annual cicadas typically begin singing in the first 10 days of July - early if it's been warm, but later when June has been cool and rainy.

You may hear the whine of Dog-day Cicadas in far eastern Ohio. The fabulous Scissor-Grinder Cicada is not too far away and can be heard along Ohio’s central and western lakeshore counties from Marblehead/Kelleys Island west. Finally, the little Say’s Cicada has been located in Geauga and Lake Counties.  It’s not common and is not a loud as the larger cicadas. It sings in early June from woodland ridges.

Periodical cicadas made a grand appearance in 2016. They won't emerge here again until 2033, but if you're impatient (like me) you could travel to other parts of the state when they emerge there.

 In the future, I plan to add a section on our annual cicadas. In the meantime, I’d encourage you to read more about our regional species and listen to their songs at

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