Predicting Weather by the Signs: The Singing of the Katydids

Here in the Southern mountains, the old-timers (and many young people as well) still predict the weather by “the signs,” that is, the signs found in nature.  One of those signs is the annual singing of the katydids.

While the tree frogs sing at night, the katydids here sing during the day, their “voices” rising to a crescendo from one stand of trees, and then falling away as katydids in another stand of trees take up the song.  Katydids sometimes are called bush crickets or long-horned grasshoppers, and they are about the size and shape of leaves.  We rarely see them, but this week I came out of a meeting to find one on my car.  It looks rather ferocious…


Weather lore is somewhat contradictory.  Some folks say that when you hear the first katydids of the summer in July you should note the exact date because the first frost will come on that same date in September.  Other folks say that the first frost will arrive three months after the first singing of the katydids.  Regardless, the earlier the katydids begin singing in July, the earlier the first frost.  If the signs are accurate, we will see an early frost this year.

I tried to record the katydids this week.  From our porch, which is where I was standing when I made the recording, you can also hear traffic on the highway and other sounds.  From our back deck, the traffic sounds are more muffled, but the katydids were not as loud.




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