Study Singing Insects

cicada thomas

Lots of insects can make quite a racket in the summer! These include singing crickets, katydids, and cicadas—insects common to central and eastern North America. If you live where these “noisy boys” are found, then try these tips for getting up close to some.

What you Need

  • Two flashlights
  • Butterfly or insect net

What You Do

  1. Creep Close
    Pick one song, cup your hands behind your ears, and turn your head back and forth to pinpoint where it’s coming from. Start inching toward the sound. If it stops, wait until it starts again. Then move closer. If you?re lucky, soon you’ll be near enough to see the insect musician.
  2. Shine a Light
    After dark, try a different trick. Grab a friend and two flashlights. From different places, head toward the same song. Then shine your lights in the direction the sound is coming from. The insect should be where the light beams cross.
  3. Watch and Wonder
    Once you have a singer in your sights, sit quietly and watch it. Can you see it singing? Scoop it up with a net for an even closer peek. Then let it go, of course. The show must go on!
  4. Try to Figure Out Who Is Singing
    Want help doing that? Go to and click on “Online Guide” to catch some of their photos and hear their songs.cicada thomas