PHOTO: Carl Olson, Ph.D.


People in Southern Arizona are used to hearing a loud conspicuous shrill among trees and plants from May until September.

The source of the sound is most likely a type of cicada - a large insect with long transparent wings, which is most active during the hottest part of the year.

The males of this species are looking for love.

Carl Olson is an entomologist, who is known as the "bug man."

“Each different species of cicada has different strategies for keeping predators away from them but this one is just singing at the hottest part of the day, so that nothing else is active except the females and entomologists listening to them," said Olson, who recently retired from the University of Arizona.

While some people have grown to believe the cicada is a sign of the monsoon, Olson disagrees.

“I don’t think so, they’re as good as our weather man in doing that," he stated with a laugh.

"They’re always predicting hot, would be the way I see it. At least the ones that are out right now and saying, ‘it’s going to be hot and that’s when we’re going to get together,'" he added.

When they breed, the female lays her eggs on a plant or tree and the nymphs eventually go underground where they feed on roots before re-emerging as adults in a few years.

However, a different generation keeps the summer sounds going on annual basis.