Can Crickets Tell the Temperature?

Narrow Winged Tree Cricket

Have you ever noticed how crickets chirp more when it’s warm? They are very sensitive to temperature. A scientist named A.E. Dolbear also noticed this and came up with a way to guess the temperature by counting the number of times a cricket chirps in one minute. He based his figures on Snowy Tree Cricket chirps, but you can count the chirps any crickets make. Other crickets are not as reliable, but it’s still fun to do.

Listen carefully, because it’s sometimes hard to tell when one chirp ends and another begins. Use a watch with a second hand, and count how many chirps there are in one minute. Subtract 40 from this number, and divide the answer by four. Add 50 to this figure. This is what the temperature is in degrees Fahrenheit. Check with a thermometer. Does the formula work?

By the way, only male crickets chirp. They rub their wings together, drawing one across the other almost like a bow across a fiddle. Crickets have two songs – - one to attract females, the other to warn off other males. Can you tell the songs apart? Probably not, but the crickets can!

[Image: Courtesy of Flickr user wildlifephotog]

About the Author

Naomi K.Shapiro is an active member of Outdoor Writers Association of America and Wisconsin Outdoor Communicators. She lived for 15 years in Clam Lake, WI (permanent population of 140 not counting deer, bear and elk!) and writes regularly on issues involving business, the outdoors and tourism.

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