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 Elle Draper

A Cacophony of Cicadas in Spain

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For a week or two now, the noise from these cicadas has surrounded Spain Buddy Heights… but it was not until today that we managed to get close enough to take a photo of one. These really are loud, although they go silent when you approach.


Noisy fella!! ©Spain Buddy

Thanks to Carol Byrne from  Further South of Granada and Paddy Waller of The Spanish Thyme Traveller who identified it for us this evening. I suppose we should also thank Simon Harris who runs the Barcelona Travel Guide… although his suggestion of a Real Madrid fan wasn’t quite so likely.

A little more research has thrown up some very interesting information. Apparently, the nymphs live for years underground (one species in America can live for SEVENTEEN years underground) before heading up to shout at each other, and it is the males that make the noise – nowt changes there then ;)

They are normally found in warmer areas… which explains why we are enjoying their “songs” at the moment, as it’s very warm here in Southern Spain as I type. The sound is not dissimilar to that of crickets… but a lower pitch and more constant.

The beastie that we photographed this evening was a little over an inch long from nose to bum… and he was quite happily shouting at all his mates in the valley until we shoved a camera in his face. He was very well behaved though, and sat still long enough for us to get a proper shot of him.

This video on YouTube gives the sound – about 30 seconds in.

4 Responses to A Cacophony of Cicadas in Spain

  1. Alf July 4, 2013 at 3:22 am

    Too much curry and bad Fosters has a similar sound effect on some people, so I’m told ¦¬(

  2. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper July 4, 2013 at 11:09 am

    No Alf – this is even louder than that! ;)

  3. Phyllis August 2, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Thanks for the head up on these noisy cicadas.

    What I find strange is that in a ‘blog’ I read, it said they tend to sing (if you can call it singing?) at night but ours are at least quiet at night however, the cocophony from morning till sunset drives us berserk. So much so that in order to get away from the constant noise is to go into town or to the beach for some peace!

    Neighbours say to cut the large olive tree down which will encourage these pesky insects to find alternative accommodation. Rather drastic we thought as the tree is quite old (we have been informed it is almost 100 years old) and still producing olives. Is there an alternative or just carry on sipping coffee/wine/people watching/practising beach bum lifestyle for the duration of summer?

    Your suggestion is greatly appreciated.

  4. Elle Draper
    Elle Draper August 2, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Hi Phyllis.

    Yes it sounds like the cicadas love your olive tree. It does sound drastic to cut it down… perhaps try putting something mobile in the trees. Are you getting a breeze? Could you put one of those kiddle windmills in place to see if the movement detracts them? Typing strips of silver ribbon may work too. Or perhaps plonking fake birds among the branches? Or keep the garden hose handy – ready for a quick blast each time one starts singing to you.

    In the meantime, enjoy the time out of the house.

    E x

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