Is There A Bug In My Music? Orkin Romanticizes The Sound of Cicadas

Hold on.  Orkin’s Pest Control is making music out of an upcoming end-of-the-world-level invasion of loud bugs?

Is that like making lemons out of lemonade?

Or is it more like Hannibal Lecter having a census-taker’s liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti?

What is without question is that 2024 will be a spectacular year for “periodical cicadas.” And that has nothing to do with magazines.

According to Wikipedia, “For the first time since 2015 a 13-year brood will emerge in the same year as a 17-year brood.”

In addition, “for the first time since 1998, adjacent 13-and 17-year broods will emerge in the same year.”

And the brood icing on the icing? “For the first time since 1803, Brood XIX and XIII will co-emerge.”



Geesh, that’s 221 years of brooding, coming to us soon (early June) particularly for those who live in the Southeast and Midwest.

Never mind that the cicada sound is not exactly birdsong.

Still, it’s an innovative and clever move for the Atlanta-based brand. It's decided to commemorate (and even celebrate?)  this seasonal outrage by lifting our spirits with an "  "Orkinstra" performing an original symphony that will be streamed live on TikTok and in Springfield, Illinois, on June 8.

Emmy nominated-music composer Bryan Rheude orchestrated the seven-act, 45-minute symphony “based on the cicada life cycle.”

At first, I read that as “lifestyle” and I was intrigued about possibly rich and famous Cicadans. 

But cicadas do have one of the most interesting life cycles in the insect universe.

And if you really want to bug/nerd out on this emerging brood, here’s where the “periodical” part comes in:  They live underground for up to 13, 17  (or 221) years, but once they emerge above ground, “the adults live for four to six weeks, feeding on tree sap with their long, beak-like mouthparts,” according to

“The males sing in trees. Females hear and respond, and mating takes place. Following mating, the female cuts V-shaped slits into the bark of twigs with her saw-toothed ovipositor and lays about twenty eggs to a nest. “

So the above-ground cicada “lifestyle” is all about singing and mating. The men are like Elvis, crooning their hearts out to attract females, who lay eggs after hooking up. Then they die within the month, leaving legions of sap suckers burrowing underground and starting the cycle all over again.

Speaking of emerging talent, the concert date coincides with what experts believe will be “the peak area and time for this double brood emergence,” according to the Orkin announcement.

Already sold out, the concert offers  “dozens of classically trained musicians as they play a never-before-heard symphony composed to incorporate the singing and rhythm of this summer's loudest and most vocal insect.”

I listened to an excerpt here and the music is exciting, modern and moving; it could easily be a movie soundtrack. The bug sound is incorporated poetically.

Otherwise, in the wild, cicada “music” reminds me of the air hose that cleans your mouth at a dentist’s office. Others have likened it to a hair dryer or the sound you’d hear getting sucked into a jet engine.

As for the two questions at the top, does Orkin do its thing, waging chemical warfare once these winged and swinging creatures start singing?

"Cicadas aren't dangerous to people, property, plants or crops, so the best thing to do is leave them alone," says Ian Williams, Orkin board member and kindly entomologist. 

Still, the company does add, in small type, that “While Orkin doesn't treat for cicadas, visit to schedule an inspection for treatment of general summertime pests.”

Bravo, Orkin, for doing the best kind of advertising, entering a conversation with your customers about life, bugs, and the music that sustains us.

Less lemonade and more Larval Aid, the campaign is a true education for surviving this upcoming Cicadapalooza.

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