What Is the Difference Between a Locust and a Cicada?

Although locusts and cicadas are commonly confused with one another, these two insects are entirely different creatures. Cicadas are referred to as tree crickets, while locusts are actually short-horned grasshoppers.

Cicadas are usually heard singing or making a loud noise in the trees during the summer. This loud noise is called an emergence. Males of the species produce this emergence, and the sound acts as a mating call.

Locusts are part of a swarming phase of grasshoppers. Locusts breed very rapidly, and the group they form is called a swarm. Locust swarms are very damaging to crops. Cicadas can damage crops and other plant life through scarring. Scarring occurs when a female cicada lays her eggs in the branches.

With their well-developed wings, both of these species have the ability to fly. Cicadas also shed their shell, leaving it on the bark or branches of a tree.

Pesticides are used against locusts but not cicadas. According to The Bug Man, pesticides are useless and ineffective against the cicada. Cicadas are not harmful to humans. The insects do not bite or sting, but they sometimes mistake a person's arm for food and try to feed. Both the cicada and the locust are considered delicacies in some countries and are consumed as food.