I’ve never quite experienced Illawarra cicadas at this level


In the last few weeks, I’ve been having some trouble with noisy neighbours.

They start from sunrise, with noise so loud I have to put earplugs in to sleep through the morning, and really get going in the late afternoon.

Last night, it got so bad that I downloaded a dodgy decibel reader on my phone. The noise levels hit 80 decibels before I’d even made it out the front door.

My partner tried yelling at them and throwing some sticks he found in the garden in their direction, but I think that just made them louder.

Shutting all the windows and closing off the cool breeze, in desperation we half-wondered if we could call someone – the council? – to fix the problem.

Problem is, our noisy neighbours are cicadas, and do not respond to threats or reasoning.

While I’ve always associated the cicada’s shrill mating call with summer, I’ve never quite experienced them at this level.

This is my second year living in the suburbs, where – like many Illawarra residents – my home backs on to the bush.

Last year the noise was bad – and a big surprise after living in the city for a long time –  but this year it actually makes your head ring, blocking out conversations, the television and anything else.

Apparently, cicadas have a bumper season every seven years, so here’s hoping next year we’ll be in for a quiet one.

For now, the only thing that makes it easier to bear is that I know they will soon die off, and also that I am not alone.

Hundreds of Mercury readers have this week been sharing horribly noisy videos and vying to tell us which suburb has the dubious honour of being the loudest.

I don’t know where’s winning, but if the noise is anything like at my house, you have my sympathy and  – in lieu of any better solutions – suggest you buy some earplugs.