The life of a Cicada

Cicadas Mason City, IA

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MASON CITY, Iowa – “My grandparents told me that it has to do with the changing of the seasons maybe, something along the lines of that,” said Joseph Pohlman of Mason City.

“It tends to be annoying at times,” said Adam Mertz of Mason City.


As summer is coming to end, so is the life of this insect and the cicadas in our area have people talking.

“Ahh they’ve been falling from my house lately,” said Mertz.

“They’re only going to be singing their songs looking for a mate because that’s what they’re doing now, they’ll mate, females will lay their eggs then they die,” said John Sjolinder.

John Sjolinder, is the Executive Director at the ISU Cerro Gordo County Extension Office.

And lately he’s been doing quite a bit of research on this noisy insect.

“This particular one you hear is common around here known as the scissor grinder which if you listen to them and if you’ve ever sharpened scissors that’s why they’re called that,” said Sjolinder.

And would you believe that the Cicadas’ mating song registers at 120 decibel on average, which is about the same sound measurement as the items you just heard.

“Cause they do make a huge noise they make more noise probably than just about any other bug, and when they come out in drowns in this particular year I think there’s been a lot of interest because we’ve had a particularly large bloom of them,” said Sjolinder.

So whether you think they’re annoying or soothing, this little insect is here to stay for another three weeks.

“Its one of those sounds of summer. Reminds people of a lot of summer stuff and it’s just summers are great here in Iowa and that’s just a part of it,” said Sjolinder.

Another interesting fact, next year will mark the rising of the 17 year Cicada.

This particular bug burrows into the ground for 17 years and then it finally emerges, molts and then mates.

Sjolinder says when you see large blooms of Cicadas, like this year, it can be because of unusual weather patterns.

He says once that fall weather kicks in, it will be much quieter.

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