Have you heard the buzzing and clicking songs of the ‘tzitzikia’ better known to us as the ‘Cicadas’ coming from the Latin, meaning “tree cricket”.
Most of the tzitzikia - cicadas appear every year from late June-August, found in the trees around the island especially in the South when the temperatures soar!
Varying in size from 0.75 to 2.25 in (2.2 to 5.5 cm) long. The tzitzikia - cicadas can be black, brown or green and can have red, white or blue eyes. Their wings are transparent and can seem rainbow-hued when held up to the light.
They live a relatively long time — 4 to 17 years, depending on whether they are annual or periodical. The periodical tzitzikia - cicadas live the longest.
They spend most of their lives underground as maggots, followed by a short adulthood — from two to six weeks above the ground.
Tzitzikia - Cicadas are ‘herbivores’ (plant-eaters). Young tzitzikia –cicadas use their straw-like mouth to eat liquid from plant roots, when molting they eat twigs, according to various Departments of Agriculture records shows that adults do not feed.
The buzzing sound they make is a mating call. Males vibrate a white, drum like membrane on their abdomens called a tymbal. A group of singing tzitzikia - cicadas is called a chorus, the singing attracts both males and females to a certain area. The males join in on the singing and the females mate with the males. They are one of the loudest insects on the planet, producing a sound of up to 120 dB (louder than rock concert) that can be heard 0.5 miles away. Would you say like music to your ears… Must be quite annoying at times!
Natural enemies of tzitzikia – cicadas are rodents, squirrels, moles, birds, spiders, lizards, kilter wasps and fish.
Good to know… they do not bite or sting in a true sense, BUT watch out they may occasionally mistake a person's arm for a plant limb and attempt to feed!