December 2019: Christmas time in South Africa – Cicadas singing and Christmas Beetles buzzing!

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Unlike the northern hemisphere, Christmas in South Africa is spent outdoors in the warm, summer sun. There is no such thing as a white Christmas. Rather, a pleasant, rain-filled (hopefully) one.

But why does it seem like insects want to share in the Christmas festivities? Why do their populations proliferate around this time?

Insects are ectothermic creatures, meaning they depend on the natural, external environment to regulate their body temperature. So, as us humans slowly emerge from our winter hibernation slippers to don on our active wear with the ever-earlier upcoming sun in the mornings, so do insects! Summer time for insects means time for moving, eating and finding a mate.

Common insects to be found around Christmas time in South Africa include termites, ants, flies, mosquitos, cicadas (you will hear them before you see them) and of course, the Christmas beetle (which is attributed this name for the sole reason of its abundance during this festive time).

So, as we lie in bed and listen to the singing cicadas, or the buzzing beetles – lets be reminded that Christmas is just around the corner!

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