4 Insects That Make Noise At Night In The Summer

In the United States, a common noise heard during summer nights is the sound of insects. They can be heard singing and chirping from the east to the west coast. While some of these are more well-known, like cicadas, others are not as frequently heard about.

4 Types of Insects That Make Noise At Night In The Summer

There are four common types of insects that can be heard making noise during summer nights throughout North America. These include cicadas, tree crickets, field crickets, and katydids.

1. Cicadas

Robinson’s annual cicadas | image by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Magicicada spp.
  • Appearance: black body with red eyes
  • Range: Eastern United States

Cicadas, specifically General Periodical cicadas, are commonly heard making noise during summer nights all across the eastern United States. These are unusual insects, with broods emerging from the earth during set time frames.

Even though cicadas may not be expected to emerge every year, stragglers are common and frequently reported during off cycles. Different species of the periodical cicadas emerge within different cycles.

Four of the cicada species have life cycles of 13 years. Three species have17 year long life cycles. Species with 17-year cycles can be found in more northern regions, with 13-year life cycle cicadas being more common in midwestern and southern areas.

The cicadas will spend a dormant period underground, and emerge in large groups. These large populations of insects can be incredibly loud during summer nights early in the season. Later on, in the summer annual species of cicadas will start to emerge, and they are often just as loud as periodical cicadas.

While the periodical cicadas can be identified by their large red eyes and black bodies, some annual cicadas look nearly identical. Before reaching adulthood, all types of cicadas will live as nymphs underground. Despite their large size and loud sounds, cicadas are harmless insects.

2. Tree Crickets

tree crickets
tree crickets by Kraus from Pixabay
  • Scientific name: Oecanthus sp.
  • Appearance: light green or whitish
  • Range: throughout the U.S.

Just like cicadas, tree crickets are another loud insect that can be frequently heard during summer nights in the U.S. Males of this species are the ones who make noise, emitting a high-pitched sound that can be heard during the later part of the summer season.

These insects are nocturnal and are most active around dusk. When the females lay eggs they can sometimes damage trees, but not often enough for them to be considered a pest.

For the most part, tree crickets will be heard and not seen during summer nights. There are also snowy tree crickets, but these will not be heard until winter.

Tree crickets are incredibly common across North America and most other continents. They are frequently heard throughout the United States and are most common in Texas and Missouri. Just like the name suggests, these bugs usually inhabit trees. They will also live in weeds and shrubbery.

3. Field Crickets

Field Crickets
Field Crickets by Robert Balog from Pixabay
  • Scientific name: Gryllus spp.
  • Appearance: dark brown or black
  • Range: the United States, plus Canada and Mexico 

Field crickets can be heard chirping during summer nights across the United States, and are one of the noises commonly associated with the warm season. Males are the loudest and can chirp up to 30 times in a single minute. These insects are quite loud but will stop making noise if someone gets too close.

This can make it hard to actually find them. However, they often live in tall grass and may jump on people that walk through their habitats. Field crickets are also known to make shelter underground, or in debris piles. These bugs are completely harmless and actually considered useful because they feed on pest insects and decaying matter.

While crickets are not considered a pest, large populations of them can be annoying if they start to regularly feed in your yard or garden. In some countries, crickets have become a popular snack.

4. Katydids

katydids
Katydids by Christina Winter from Pixabay
  • Scientific name: Pseudophyllinae
  • Appearance: green with large wings
  • Range: United States, Costa Rica, and other countries

One of the largest insects found in North America is the katydids, a type of winged insect. There are species of katydids around the world, and they are a common noise maker heard throughout the United States.

They are a type of grasshopper and closely related to crickets. Their green coloring allows them to camouflage in the forests and shrubbery where they often live.

Some types of these insects are even shaped like leaves. Different species will vary in size, but typically katydids will be between half an inch and four inches in size.

Thanks to a condition that is called erythrism, sometimes the rare pink katydid is born. This condition is considered similar to albinism and caused by a recessive gene that these insects possess.

True katydids are the common noise makers of these bugs, and they can be heard making a raspy sound during the summer months. Other types of katydids make song-like noises instead. While some can be heard during the daytime, they are most active from late at night to early in the morning.

They will continue making sounds into the fall but typically stop by the time October ends. There are around 255 species of katydids found in North America.

Twenty of those species are distributed throughout the Midwestern United States. In addition to true katydids, other types include shield-backed katydids and false katydids.

Conclusion

Cicadas, tree crickets, field crickets, and katydids are some of the most frequently heard insects during summer nights in North America. They are common throughout most of the continent, with katydids being just as common around the rest of the world.