Common True Katydid (Wikimedia)
We have a mystery sound coming from our front maple tree, every night once the sun goes down. It continues all night until sunrise. It’s so loud, neighbors on both sides have come over to ask if I am using some high-tech device to ward off the neighborhood cats from digging in the flower garden. I have attached a recording, not sure if you have any idea what it could be?
Gary Wollny, Jennifer Drive, Peterborough
The mystery sound you’re hearing, Gary, is made by the Common True Katydid, a grasshopper-like, green insect that is native to extreme southern Ontario and much of the eastern U.S. Every couple of years one turns up in Peterborough. I suspect that they hitch a ride on a truck or some other vehicle and inadvertently end up here. The sound they make is pretty annoying – as your neighbours have pointed out.They make it by rubbing a special hardened section at the top of one of their wings over a similar section on the other wing. If you Google “Common True Katydid” you’ll find all sorts of articles about them and recordings of their “song”. We had one on Westbrook Drive about 10 years ago at about this time of year. I suspect that it will be killed by the first hard frost we get. However, with climate change, who knows when that will be.