Updated: Jun 14, 2022
I keep hearing it buzzing but can’t find it.
Occasionally I’ll find a small swarm of wasps outside my window buzzing and bumping against the glass in the afternoon on a hundred-degree day in the sun. Not my idea of a good time, but I’m not a wasp. I was raised Catholic.
I also have seen, i the past, what I believe are very loud cicadas, buzzing and bumping the glass. Again, I don’t know what they’re up to, and bumping glass in the heat isn’t my idea of a good time, but they’ve got things to do. I thought they only come around every 13 years, but there must be a loud flying bug that looks and sounds like them.
I'm careful not to confuse them with singer Jon Secada, connected with the Miami Sound Machine and later a successful solo career. He had a powerful voice and I always felt he was underrated, His big hit was "Just Another Day" in 1992.
Speaking of 13 years, cicadas spend most of their life underground, feeding on roots, including trees, grasses, and other woody plants. Then they come out and bump 130-degree windows in the Florida sun? What am I missing?
The third critter I’ve had my eye on is the woodpecker. According to Wild Bird World, nine species of woodpeckers call Florida home. They are primarily drawn to pine forests, 7-11s, shopping centers, global franchises, and weirdos.
I have seen them pecking on houses but not mine. Mine was constructed in the 1970s, probably with flakeboard walls made from pine, crushed Budweiser cans and Big Mac wrappers.
I noticed one a few days ago down the street, which must have been a Pileated Woodpecker based on the description I’m seeing. It has a large red crest on its head and a big body. It was hammering away at a tree looking for carpenter ants - as I am learning - and it was going to town.
Some years ago, I learned that woodpeckers also make strange and loud calls. I confused it with a coyote call because it was so disturbing. All About Birds explains their calls as follows:
“Red-headed Woodpeckers give all kinds of chirps, cackles, and other raucous calls. Their most common call is a shrill, hoarse tchur, like a Red-bellied Woodpecker’s but higher-pitched and less rolling. When chasing each other, they make shrill charr-charr notes.”
They are surprisingly loud and obnoxious. Let’s wrap up their lifestyle: They make loud, embarrassingly-awkward calls that some other woodpecker (there are others around?) is supposed to hear as a mating call.
When they’re not doing that, they slam their face into a tree at 19-25 impacts per second to find (how do they know what’s in a tree trunk?) and eat ants.
The woodpecker caps off my list of three critters with unenviable lifestyles. Now my life seems exciting.
Back to the wasps and cicadas.
After two weeks of trying to find the source of buzzing that I heard all day long as I work full-time from my room at home, I was getting nowhere. I would get up and lift the blinds and try to catch the noisy bug outside the window. I was getting nowhere until I finally had an idea.
Maybe it’s not a flying insect? At that moment, I looked up at the ceiling fan that is always on above me, and I realized what it was. Every few minutes, the base of the fan squeaked because it is old and a little scratchy. Quite impressive how much it sounds like a wasp or a cicada.
I go downstairs, get a can of WD-40, spray the fan's base, and no more flying insects. I’m relieved, but why did it take me TWO EFFIN’ WEEKS!