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French firm shocked by ‘too loud’ cicadas complaint

A French pest control business in the Dordogne has been left stunned after a local resident asked it to get rid of the cicadas in their garden, because the insects were “too loud”.

Sylvie Cornu, owner of the business Allo 3D, in Ribérac (Dordogne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine), said she received the surprising email last week, and “could not believe her eyes”.

The email read: “We have several cicadas in the trees behind our house. They are so loud that we want to get rid of them. Is that something you could help us with?”

Ms Cornu declined the offer, and replied that this was not something her business would do, because the insects are “too important for biodiversity; without them there would be no more birds”.

Speaking to local newspaper France Bleu Perigord, she said: “I could not believe my eyes when I saw that. This is a first for us - usually people ask us about fleas, flies, bedbugs, mosquitoes...but not cicadas! We lost a lot of money [but doing that] would be neither ecological nor ethical."

Cicadas make a distinctive noise once temperatures go over 22°C

Referring to the recent spike in news stories of residents complaining about normal countryside noises and issues - such as recent reports that locals were complaining about bee pollen and cockerels - Ms Cornu added: “What, these days we can’t stand cockerels crowing, village church bells, frogs...and now we have to destroy cicadas?!”

Other local residents appeared to agree with Ms Cornu.

One inhabitant of Ribérac said it was “ridiculous and abhorrent” to want to get rid of cicadas, while another said: “Cicadas inspire me to take relaxing moments in my garden. We are lucky to live in the countryside and to be able to hear them.”

Cicadas - similar to crickets and grasshoppers, and called “cigales” in French - are not usually considered to be pests.

However, their “singing” or “tymballing” - the distinctive mating noise they make after dark, not to be confused with the “chirrupping” made by other similar insects - does increase during hot weather.

According to experts, the noise starts soon after temperatures reach 22°C, and 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. They then reproduce, and sing even louder,” explained Jean Mateo, director of the Vespiland Amateur Association of Insects, speaking to local newspaper Le Var Matin. “It all depends on the heat.”

The insects do not often respond to human attempts to move them on, but they do usually stop their noise once the temperature dips below 22°C.

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