With fewer cars on the road and airplanes in the sky, I’ve enjoyed the sounds of summer even more, namely the chorus of cicadas in my leafy neighborhood. The male’s love song is loud and urgent – more Def Leppard than James Taylor – but to my ears, it is the soundtrack of lazy summer days. They lift up their song, but it quickly trails off, as if it is simply too much effort in the face of unrelenting heat and humidity.
But the cicadas themselves lead lives that are far from relaxed and carefree. They’re frantic to attract a mate and reproduce in a matter of weeks. And their brief life span is threatened by a wide range of predators, such as mammals, birds and reptiles. Even humans sometimes snack on them. But there’s one insect so accomplished at its gruesome task, it has earned the name “cicada killer.”