Creation: Crickets tell what temperature it is

Crickets (Gryllidae) are insects distantly related to grasshoppers, found all around the world from grassland, bushes, and forests to marshes, beaches, and caves, except at latitudes 55° or higher.

There are more than 900 species of crickets, the largest of which are the bull crickets, measuring 2 inches in length.

Crickets are mainly nocturnal, and are best known for the loud, persistent, chirping song of males trying to attract females, although some species are mute. Crickets chirp by rubbing together the tough, leathery covers of their front wings.

As explained by Scientific American:

[T]here’s a special structure on the tops of their wings, called a scraper. When they want to make their sound, they raise their wings to a 45-degree angle and draw the scraper of one wing across wrinkles on the underside of the other wing, called a file. It’s somewhat like running your finger along the teeth of a comb.

But did you know that we can actually tell what temperature it is from their chirps? The chirps of these tiny creatures can be used as a kind of thermometer!

Crickets, like all living things, have many chemical reactions going on inside their bodies, such as reactions that allow muscles to contract to produce chirping. Crickets, like all insects, are cold-blooded and take on the temperature of their surroundings…. As the temperature rises, it becomes easier to reach a certain activation energy, thereby allowing chemical reactions, such as the ones that allow a cricket to chirp, to occur more rapidly. Conversely, as the temperature falls, the reaction rates slow, causing the chirping to diminish along with it.

As far back as the late 1800s there have been articles published noting that a cricket’s chirp rate (or number of chirps per second that it makes) changes consistently based on the outdoor temperature.

Scientific American has instructions on how we can test this remarkable phenomenon:

  1. Materials needed: an outdoor thermometer; stopwatch; piece of scratch paper; a pen; and most importantly, access to crickets or purchase your own cricket.
  2. On an evening when the outdoor temperature is between 55 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (12 and 38 degrees Celsius), set up the thermometer to measure the outdoor temperature in the area where crickets are. Make sure you hear some chirping. Alternatively, if you purchase crickets, set them outside in a cage in the shade that allows the outside air to easily reach them. Wait until you hear chirping.
  3. Pick out the chirping sound of a single cricket. Count how many chirps the cricket makes in 14 seconds. Write this number down.
  4. Do this two more times, counting how many chirps the cricket makes in two more 14-second intervals. Write these numbers down.
  5. Average the number of chirps in the 14-second intervals.
  6. Add 40 to the average number of chirps. It should give you the approximate temperature in degrees F.
  7. Check the temperature on the outdoor thermometer. How close is the temperature based on the cricket chirps to the thermometer reading?

To determine the temperature in degrees C:

  1. Count the number of chirps in 25 seconds.
  2. Divide this number by 3 and then add 4.

Using the above equations, the numbers you get are usually within about 5 degrees F of the temperature measured using the outdoor thermometer. If the cricket’s chirps say it’s colder than the thermometer read, this can be because the cricket was farther away from a warm building than the thermometer was, and/or because the cricket was closer to the cold soil. The snowy tree cricket is frequently cited as the most accurate at predicting temperature.

H/t Shireen

~Eowyn

25 responses to “Creation: Crickets tell what temperature it is

  1. Interesting. For those of us that are outside a lot we can tell the temp to within 5 degrees easily. Storms approaching a day or more in advance become easy to tell too. Of course my clock has 4 times, summer, autumn, winter and spring.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m gonna test this out soon. Seems to me I only hear crickets when it’s hot here in OK….and boy it’s hot right now!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank You, DCG, You have my approval, 🧐run the test and report back to me, I attract mosquitoes big time, antihistamines is a staple for me so evening outdoors is staying in.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Ok…I’m not able to decipher a cricket’s chirp apparently. I listened to another one tonight and the chirp seemed to last for over a second. And after the total chirp count it was way off from the actual temp.

        Must take a better ear than mine to decipher chirp counts…

        Liked by 1 person

    • The last time I was in Oklahoma the crickets were three feet long! The only thing bigger were the Praying Mantis’.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Ok, the cricket I heard tonight was spastic 😊

      It was chirping at different lengths and not anywhere at a consistent amount of time/chirps. Course the thunder/lightning and neighbor dogs barking might have had something to do with that?…

      The temp on my app was 15 degrees different from the cricket’s chirps.

      Will have to try again when no dog/thunder influence I guess!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on kommonsentsjane and commented:

    Reblogged on kommonsentsjane/blogkommonsents.

    Just another one of God’s creatures who was made to perform his job.

    Have you ever given some thought of your own body and the functions it performs – and the difference when something goes haywire and you feel bad. Then, you go the doctor to find out what went haywire and you try to fix it.

    All of these parts of the world and how they tick. Amazing.

    kommonsentsjane

    kommonsentsjane

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: How Crickets Can Tell You the Temperature | Lee Duigon

  5. What a fabulous, and interesting article. It is truly wonderful to learn how those things found on this Earth work. Our God is truly a God of miracles.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I knew this as a kid, I learned this long ago in summer camp, though we just counted the number of chirps in 15 seconds, and added 40 – we didn’t care about averaging them out since it seemed so consistent.

    I didn’t know about the rule of thumb for figuring out degrees in Celsius – this is America, after all.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. This should prove to be a valuable tool along side my weather stick, Fitzroy storm glass, Galileo thermometer, and cloud observations in my weather predictions.

    Like

    • Well, isn’t your sarcasm just precious! You’re missing the point of this post. I’m not suggesting we use crickets to tell temperatures. This is about the wonders of God’s creation.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. They have discovered that there are male and female trees, and that every tree has its own unique DNA…they can now tie someone to a crime scene by checking the bits of leaves in a car’s tire and proving the person was at the crime scene because of that tree’s DNA

    https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091117223226AArLGwL.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I know somewhere in You TUbe is a video of two bean plants, in an experiment where someone placed a pole between them, about five feet away from each of the two plants…the time-lapse video shows the plants struggling with all that they had to grow and get over to the pole, each trying to get there before the other. One finally got there first, and the other plant “saw” it, and despaired, gave up and died on the spot.

    Plants DO have feelings of some sort and how did they “see” the pole in the first place? If anyone can find this video I would love to have it again!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I don’t see why not. That’s a great observation. We have some forested property on a little lake. I observe all manner of animal behavior. It is truly fascinating.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree – I’m renting a house with a front porch – the porch being something I’ve wanted for a long time so I could sit outside when it’s warm, and just unwind after a long day’s work, or sit outside with a couple cups of coffee to wake up slowly.

      I feed the squirrels & sparrows a lot – I buy 30 lb. bags of “squirrel” food. I got into feeding ’em last summer after my mom told me where to get them – she feeds chipmunks, cardinals & a few other different species of birds. When I come home from work, the squirrels that are there will gather round waiting, and even the sparrows will fly in.

      Yesterday, I saw 3 baby robins on the sidewalk waiting to be fed by momma . As I was typing this last sentence, a couple squirrels ran up on the porch, one chasing the other – I used to think they were just playing, but I realized, only one is playing – the other is royally ticked off at the other. My daughter has been able to do something I haven’t achieved yet – feed them out of her hand.

      Liked by 2 people

      • My daughter has been able to do something I haven’t achieved yet – feed them out of her hand.

        Not a good idea. I used to feed shelled peanuts to ground squirrels in a marina. When I called “peanuts! peanuts!,” they’d come running. One day, in its eagerness, a squirrel mistook my thumb for peanut and bit me. I had to go to Emergency for a tetanus shot.

        Liked by 3 people

        • We feed them off our back deck. So far, no bites. We’ve been getting big, nasty possums lately, though. I have a koi pond that I can’t keep the raccoons out of. Oh, and did I mention the bunnies?

          Liked by 1 person

      • That’s great. We don’t. have Cardinals here. They’re beautiful birds. We have a lot of others though. We’ve got hummingbird feeders and we put out seed and suet. Even in the winter we get a lot of squirrels hanging around. Must be too good to hibernate.

        On our property we have bears, cougars, deer, elk, beavers. It’s great. I keep a few trail cams out there and get lots of pictures. I keep an eye out for the cougars though. They can be a problem.

        Liked by 2 people

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