What Are Locust Noises?

What Are Locust Noises?

Locusts (family Acrididae) are noisy insects. They look like grasshoppers because they technically are. However, not all grasshoppers are locusts. Rather, locusts are in the same biological family and are actually a kind of large, short-horned grasshopper.

Locusts are well-known for being noisy, and some people are even kept up a night due to the sounds of these orchestral insects. As locusts rub their legs together against their wings, they can create a loud, violin-like buzzing sound. In the daytime, some locusts fly around, which creates a snapping or cracking sound. This happens as their wings expand and contract. 


Locusts are found near-worldwide. These creatures, which are a type of short-horned grasshopper, appear sporadically and generally come in what some people call “plagues.” Essentially, they build up large swarms that can potentially destroy crops or be general nuisances. 

Acridids, which Americans refer to as “locusts,” is actually the name of a group of species that largely refers to grasshoppers. The reality is that one or more of the members of this group will likely be around all the time—but in the United States, they aren’t true locusts. 

You won’t find a locust in the U.S., but if you did, you’d recognize it by its two oversized back legs as well as two smaller front legs. These insects also have two antennae and a long brown or green body with wings that extend to the same length as the tail. They make noises, like muffled buzzing, clicking, or cracking. 

Locusts vs. Grasshoppers: While all locusts are grasshoppers, not all grasshoppers are locusts. Interestingly, there are species of grasshoppers that can change the way they look and act until they become locusts themselves—so long as the circumstances are right.



As large grasshoppers, locusts make a few different sounds. The most common sound is their “jumping” or “flying” sound, which is like a series of clicks or pops caused by the movement of their wings. 

Locusts also rub their legs against their wings and to create a buzzing sound

You can compare the sounds of locusts, grasshoppers, and cicadas in these videos:

If you hear one of these sounds, you may be able to identify the insect or bug you’re dealing with. If not, give our experts a call, and we’ll help identify your new noisy neighbor.


The mechanics of how locusts make noise are interesting. First, they will make noise by rubbing one body part against another. Their legs usually rub against their wings, leading to the buzzing sound you can hear during the night or day (depending on the species). The scientific name for this is “stridulation.” 

Some kinds of locusts also make sounds when they fly and pull their wings taut, which is called crepitation—a crackling, rattling sound.


Specifically looking at locusts and grasshoppers, they make noise to do a few things. First, they want to attract mates. Second, they want to protect their territories. 

Locusts usually make their stridulations to protect their territories and find mates. They also use crepitation to attract mates. They may use both types of sound in either circumstance. 


The most common species to confuse locusts with are cicadas. Cicadas are insects that drink sap from trees and come out of the ground to “sing.” You may be familiar with these insects if you’ve ever found a shell on a tree—that’s the protection the cicada had as it grew its wings. An empty shell means the cicada has emerged and moved on. 

Locusts make buzzing, clicking sounds, but male cicadas are the true singers of the forest. Cicadas can produce sounds up to 100 decibels in volume, which is why their 13 to 17-year cycle is so obvious. The year they hatch, they’ll “sing” regularly at an unusually loud level thanks to their tymbal-like organs. Their song is a high-pitched sound, which can be compared to a string instrument during a warm-up or a percussion instrument like a cabasa

The last brood of cicadas (Brood X) emerged in the summer of 2021. They are not expected to emerge again before 2038, so if you do happen to have cicadas, they may be of a nonperiodic species (one that emerges more regularly) or a different variety.


At Joshua’s Pest Control, we know how frustrating it can be to have intrusive pests in your yard. If you’re facing unwelcome insects in or around your home, we can help. Give us a call today to get a free quote and to chat with our experts about how you can reclaim the outdoors and enjoy your peace of mind.


Author Bio

Courtney Enzor has worked in the pest control industry for about a decade. From helping you build a fly trap to giving you the best tips for identifying various bugs, she loves answering all your pest-related questions and sharing her pest-related expertise through writing. At the end of the day, she hopes her content will help people avoid mishaps and keep families happy and healthy!