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Why you may be hearing cicadas in France more this week

The noisy insects are found all over France but are particularly present in the south of the country 

A cicada on a branch in the south of France Pic: Christian Musat / Shutterstock

Cicadas, known in French as cigales, are large insects that make a distinctive noise that gets increasingly louder the hotter it gets.

France is bracing for a heatwave this week that could see temperatures climb to 40C or more in parts, and at least 30C everywhere else, meaning you might well hear the cicadas famously noisy serenade - the noise is made by males looking to attract females. 

Read more: How hot will France’s heatwave be and how long will it last?

The insects automatically make their so-called ‘cymbal’ noise whenever the temperature reaches at least 22C and the volume can reach up to 90 decibels (as loud as a lawn mower or even a chainsaw).

“The hotter it gets, the more the season attracts the insects," Jean Mateo, director of the Vespiland Amateur Association of Insects, previously told local newspaper Le Var Matin.

"They then reproduce, and sing even louder. It all depends on the heat.”

The insects are found all over France but are particularly present in the south and in the south-eastern region of Provence. 

Cicadas are not responsive to human attempts to move them on, as they do not respond effectively to outside noises or stimulus, but their noises should stop at about 22:00, when the temperature of the day goes down.

The animals are similar to crickets and grasshoppers, but they are said to ‘cymbal’ their muscles to make their unmistakable noise, rather than ‘chirrup’ using their back legs as the other animals do.

They also have different markings on their bodies, and cicadas have long wings, while crickets and grasshoppers do not.

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