The sound of summer

How do you know it’s summertime in Korea?  Well, yes…when you are sweating buckets and you haven’t even gotten out of bed in the morning.  Or just listen for the sound of the cicadas. 

Cicadas are new to me (not to be confused with locusts).  They don’t live in the Seattle area because it just isn’t hot enough.  So when we first arrived in Korea (almost one year ago – whoa!), we would hear the trees just buzzing with the LOUDEST sounds ever and were clueless as to what was making the noise.  Turns out that Korea’s hot hot summers are perfect for these huge, black, loud, and harmless bugs.


These things are huge…maybe 1.5 to 2 inches long.  And they look super freaky (I think).  Source:

They feed off the trees and you don’t tend to see them flying around.  But you always know where they are because off their LOUD buzzing sound.  You get a whole tree going and it sounds like a thousand rattlesnakes rattling their tales.  And pretty much every tree in Korea is buzzing away during the summer. 

Some Most times it’s really annoying.  If I’m walking down a block that’s lined with trees, I can hardly hear myself think because it’s so ridiculously loud.  Fortunately, they are quiet at night (when it’s cooler). 

While I do find them annoying, I do appreciate that each tree full of cicadas seem to have this interesting synchronization ability.  For no apparent reason at all, hundreds/thousands of buzzing cicadas in the same tree will just pause – at the very same time.  It’s instantly quiet (and peaceful), and then a second or two later…it’s back to buzz-ness.  🙂

Check out this YouTube clip I found that can give you an idea of the noise they make.  Just amplify by 100…and that’s what we deal with on a daily basis. 

1 Response to “The sound of summer”

  1. 1 Mom August 6, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    I would be wearaing earplugs when I went outside!!!It would drive a person to drink, hummm not a bad Idea!

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