If you walk, pedal a bike, drive a car or ride your motorcycle slowly through the streets of Pratt on a quiet afternoon these days, you'll be treated to one of the unmistakable sounds of the seasons: the soothing soliloquy of summer cicadas. Some (like my wife) don't fancy the noise. For me, there is [...]

If you walk, pedal a bike, drive a car or ride your motorcycle slowly through the streets of Pratt on a quiet afternoon these days, you'll be treated to one of the unmistakable sounds of the seasons: the soothing soliloquy of summer cicadas.
Some (like my wife) don't fancy the noise. For me, there is no sound that more clearly defines a hot summer's day.
The rhythmic hum-buzzing of cicadas can almost lull you into a dreamlike state, as if these smaller emergences of the insect are saying slowww, downnn, slowww, downnn, slowww.
Of course, it's a different story when cicadas emerge in one of their 17 year cycles. The cicadas essentially take over communities then, and it can be very difficult to carry on a conversation outside with many trees nearby.
There are a couple of reasons why cicadas sing. 1) It is only the males who make the chirping and clicking noises, and they do so in order to attract females. An individual male cicada can be heard up to a mile away; 2) According to this same source (livescience.com), a large chorus of cicadas repels most birds, at least those who hunt by day, as male cicadas generally cease to sound around sunset. Basically then, the male cicada sings to help perpetuate and protect the species.
In the United States, the cicada is primarily found in the eastern half of the country, which includes a good chunk of Kansas.
However you may feel about cicadas, one thing is for certain: this large, noisy insect will be above ground for at least a couple more months, as long as the weather stays warm. So, hopefully you will find some time to slow down, sit back, and enjoy this annual summer symphony.