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Harris-Mann Climatology Article Archive

Title: Crickets Can Make For Good Therometers

Author: Climatologist Cliff Harris
Published: 7/13/2015

We are seeing an explosion of grasshoppers and all other insects this extremely hot and dry early summer of 2015, already ravaged by wildfires across the drought-parched Far West.

During the evening hours, crickets have been chirping so loudly that people say they have been "driving them crazy," while trying to talk over their noise.

Studies show that crickets chirp much faster and louder during periods of unusual warmth. Also, the drier the weather conditions, the more active insects become, including grasshoppers and crickets.

It’s possible to calculate the exact temperature by counting the number of cricket chirps in 14 seconds. Begin with a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit, then add the number of chirps that you hear in 14 seconds. At least 90% of the time, you’ll either hit the exact air temperature at your location or be within a single degree Fahrenheit.

In the late fall and winter months, however, when it is cold, below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, crickets are silent. That’s another reason why winter evenings are much quieter than warm summer nights.

By the way, it is also true that one can tell the temperature from the frequency of a rattlesnake’s rattle, it one is willing to risk getting dangerously close to them.

The frequency of a snake’s rattle is about a hundred times a minute at 98 degrees Fahrenheit. This technique, however, doesn’t work below 32 degrees. At that frigid reading, rattlesnakes put their rattle warnings "on hold." So I guess that we should be very careful around these venomous creatures during the winter months. They may not rattle, but they can sure leave an awful bite if stepped upon in an Arizona desert .