Cicadas heard loudly, clearly by Floridians during summer heat

Florida has 19 different species of Cicadas

Published On: Jul 17 2013 11:13:20 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 17 2013 07:10:03 PM EDT

Cicadas are best-known for their loud mating calls and for Rachel Burt and her family, they hear them loud and clear.

"We hear them every night. They get extremely loud," said Burt. "The males make that sound and the females are attracted to the males. The males try to get louder and louder in order to make the strongest sound to attract a female," said Bob Belmont, a certified entomologist with Massey Services.

He says the most popular group of cicadas are known as "periodical cicadas," which are mostly found in northern states like Connecticut or North Carolina.

After a 17-year life cycle, the nymphs can surface in the millions.

"Each year or two, a brood will come out and that is that population of a known group of cicadas that are down in the ground. They're all going to come out in a certain year, 17 years from now, then another group a few years later," said Belmont.

While we won't encounter the 17-year variety here in Florida, we do have 19 different species of cicadas. Florida's cicadas are considered an annual species -- emerging out of the ground when the temperature is just right year after year. The nymphs cling to the tree roots in their final form.

"They'll molt four times in the ground and on their fifth molt, they'll come up and cling on to something. They'll cling to the bark of a tree or a screen -- wait a little bit -- and crack open and finally the adult stage will come out,"  Belmont said.

The cicadas aren't as bad as they look. Belmont says they don't bite or sting and they also provide food for many different kinds of wildlife -- including birds, small mammals, and other insects.