Cicadas all excited to bug Sydney
YOU will need to remember the earplugs as well as the sunblock this summer — it’s going to be a bumper year for cicadas.
The largest chorus of cicadas has emerged from underground since we were blanketed by a plague in 2013, according to Sydney University veterinary professor David Emery.
The deafening din of a sex-charged cicada cloud can grow louder than the front row of a rock concert and push the pain threshold of the human ear.
“They are males singing for a mate, so you would agree this is a very basic need and an admirable pursuit,” Professor Emery said.
This year’s most prolific species, commonly called the green grocer or yellow Monday depending on its colour, has sprung up along the Hawkesbury River and southwest around Camden, Cobbity and Oakdale.
The green grocer population isn’t quite a plague yet but more warm weather could bring on plagues of the double drummer, whiskey drinker or black prince species within three weeks.
Meanwhile the masked devil, orange and black with a black strip between its eyes, can be spotted in the Southern Highlands and Blue Mountains.
“This is the biggest year for cicadas in Sydney since 2013 and they will hang around until Christmas until most die off,” Professor Emery said.
“Scientists don’t know what triggers them to come out in these massive numbers — it’s pure speculation — but possible factors include temperature, sap flow and rain.”
Cicadas are increasingly rare in the older suburbs and city. The old, established trees in the CBD don’t turn on the female cicadas because there’s no guarantee they’ll be standing when the next generation of nymphs hatch, according to Prof Emery.
“The female picks young trees to lay its eggs because the larvae need to spend a few years underground before they emerge,” he said.
The most deafening thrum can be heard in Douglas Park, a 20-minute drive south of Campbelltown, where Australia’s largest and loudest cicada, the double drummer, has emerged in great numbers.
ENTOMOLOGISTS NEED YOU TO TAKE A PICTURE OR RECORD THE SOUND OF YOUR LOCAL CICADAS AND POST IT ON AN INTERACTIVE MAP. WWW.INATURALIST.ORG/ PROJECTS/ THEGREAT- CICADA- BLITZ.
Liam Dale checks out the green grocer cicadas in Camden. Picture: Jeff Darmanin