Insects That Make Strange Sounds

Grasshoppers are among the most common of the natural musicians of the world
Grasshoppers are among the most common of the natural musicians of the world (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Strange noises are often heard coming from meadows, creeks, woods and even our own backyards during the spring and summer seasons in all parts of the world. These strange noises, while sometimes caused by animals, are often produced by a much smaller culprit such as an insect. Several insects throughout the world make weird or odd noises that, while they may seem strange to people, serve very important purposes in the life of the insect.


Locusts are short-horned grasshoppers found in about 60 countries throughout the world. These insects are associated with famines because they can eat their own weight in plant life each day so when they gather together in swarms they can wipe out entire fields of crops in just a day or two. Locusts produce a singing noise by rubbing their legs against their wings. This sound is hardly audible to the human ear, however one group of locusts make an audible snapping noise, known as crepitation, during mating season.


Katydids are long-horned grasshoppers, known as the common meadow grasshopper and are found in areas all over the world. These grasshoppers produce the familiar humming and chirping songs, often heard during a summer night, by rubbing their wings together rapidly. This rapid wing vibration is known as stridulation. While katydids can damage crops, it pales in comparison to the amount of damage caused by locusts.


The cicada is an aphid that produces an astonishingly loud sound with the help of tymbals. Tymbals are a pair of organs on the abdomen of the cicada that use rigid, malleable ribs that pop and reverberate through contractions of the organ. The familiar electrical buzzing sounds created ring loudly from the trees during the summer. The cicada is often confused with the locust; they are entirely different insects. This is likely due to the fact that the cicada is called a locust in Australia.

British Stag Beetle

The British stag beetle is native to the United Kingdom. It produces a loud buzz noise that may surprise you as you walk past a bush the beetle is inhabiting. The beetle produces this noise by rigorously agitating its wings. The British stag beetle uses this noise to bounce vibrations off nearby objects to determine whether it is in a clear area to fly. The British stage beetles' bark is certainly much worse than their bite, especially since they are not known to bite or even sting at all.

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