About SIMP

What are singing insects?

The four major groups of insect that sing are the Katydids, Cicadas, Grasshoppers, and Crickets. All of these insects are herbivores that live and feed on plants. In order to find a mate, these bugs will make sounds by rubbing their wings or legs together, causing noisy vibrations that can be heard all summer long in lawns, meadows, forests, thickets, and marshes across the Midwest. Many can even be heard in the parks, streets and alleys of Chicago!

What is the monitoring program?

Citizen science happens when everyday people participate in research, collecting data towards a common, shared goal. The goal of the Singing Insects Monitoring program is to create a sound map for insect populations in the Chicago Wilderness region. We only know a little about where bugs sing, and although there are historical records for hundreds of species, very few people today keep track of these amazing creatures. Singing Insects monitors help identify where these bugs are heard, and can help by collecting data, sharing information about the program, or even making field recordings of these and other species.

How can I get involved?

The most recent training for monitors to learn the sounds of 22 key species took place on July 28th, 2017 from 6-8pm at the North Park Village Nature Center. Sign up for updates on the next training via our contact form. No experience or equipment is necessary, and kids and adults alike can participate. In fact, kids can often hear the sounds of insects better than adults!

If you are a researcher or wish to use the data in some way or help us by hosting a training or walk at your site, we welcome involvement from museums, scientists, nonprofit organizations, and universities.

Who started this project?

The Singing Insects Monitoring Program is coordinated by Kathleen Soler, a naturalist from Chicago, inspired by the work of Carl Strang, a naturalist from DuPage, who started learning about all the singing insects of the Chicago region, and has written a guide to all the singing insects in the Chicago area. He can be contacted at wildlifer@aol.com – check out his website, Nature Inquiries, for updates on his work. This project has also received support from the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology and the Chicago Park District’s Natural Areas program.