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Bug Buzz

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Let's face it: The sounds that insects make can be some of the most annoying noises out there.

Several types of insect noises frequently represent specific situations.

  • Bees, Wasps, or Hornets: That loud, humming buzz will inevitably put someone on their guard for fear of being stung.
  • Cicadas: Their shrill buzzing is a classic indicator of hot weather or summertime.
  • Flies: That particular buzzing is a well-known indicator that there's food open to the environment. If it's exceptionally loud, that means there's a lot of flies around, which usually means something's dead or possibly very dirty.
  • Crickets: Expect to hear their chirps in times of absolute stillness and calm. See also Chirping Crickets.
  • Mosquitoes: Their high-pitched, whining hum is an incredibly irritating nuisance. Expect this to show up in hot, humid weather, usually interrupting someone's sleep.
Truth in Television, although not all bugs even within the same genus/family will always be equally noisy. Probably, most tropers will have some experience of this from real life.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Higurashi: When They Cry. Its title translates to "When the Cicadas Cry." This sound effect is creepy, since if you listen very closely to the background, when the scene turns dark or scary, it sounds suspiciously like high-pitched screaming. Hence the title.
  • Most high school-based anime includes the buzzing sound of cicadas, usually representing summertime.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion is suffused with cicada sounds, mainly because Second Impact altered Earth's axis enough to throw off the seasons. This is especially evident during the scene right after the defeat of Shamshel, and in the opening scenes of Rebuild of Evangelion.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the movie Practical Magic, the noise of the death beetle signified that Sally's husband Michael was about to die.
  • The Mummy: Ugh, those chittering noises those black bugs make. And the sound of all those running legs as they overwhelm somebody and crawl into their mouths!
  • In The Right Stuff the invading horde of news reporters is always accompanied by the sounds of locusts.

  • According to legend in the south of France, cicadas were created by God specifically to keep people from sleeping during the middle of the day so they would get back to work.

  • The S'krrr language in Galaxy of Fear: The Swarm, wingsong, is controlled bug buzz. A S'krrr poet, and the shapeshifting Hoole in S'krrr form, once calm a beetle swarm together via very loud wingsong.
  • The narrator of The Events at Poroth Farm, Jeremy, is renting an outhouse on a farm deep in the New England countryside, and constantly has to put up with the sound of insects while he's trying to sleep. Which makes it very unnerving when, one night, the crickets just stop for a second, and then continue again out of rhythm for a moment - "as if a hand had jarred the record or there'd been some kind of momentary break in the natural flow..."

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Macrocosm", the macrovirus buzzes, frequency inversely proportional to size.
  • The Bolivia episode of Top Gear (UK) had a startling moment around sunset on the first day when all the insects in the rainforest seemed to suddenly sound off at once. Richard Hammond, who is afraid of insects, was not happy at all.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Unicorn and the Wasp", the Reverend who is transforming into a wasp-like alien actually starts making buzzing sounds with his mouth when he talks.

  • The Wall: David Gilmour uses his electric guitar to represent "the worms eating into" Pink's brain as he slips further and further into madness. Worms don't buzz, but since they represent decay here, we can assume that flies and other insects were thrown into the mix.

     Newspaper Comics 
  • In one Calvin and Hobbes comic, Calvin complains about how irritating bugs' characteristics are, including their noise. Hobbes snarks that a lot of the same things apply to kids, leading the enraged Calvin to chase him.

    Video Games 
  • A move in Pokémon is called "Bug Buzz". It's a sound-based Bug attack that damages its target. And it's the second most powerful Bug move in the game. It is commonly believed that bug moves are strong against psychic types because the buzzing sound breaks their concentration.
  • Some of the grasshopper enemies in Bug! have an attack where they fire out a sound wave from their legs.
  • The Sims uses flies as an indicator that something is dirty. They're actually hard to see, but when you're trying to figure out exactly what needs to be cleaned, you can hear their buzz.

    Web Comics 

    Real Life 
  • Crickets chirp at different rates depending on their species and the temperature of their environment. Most species chirp at higher rates the higher the temperature is (approximately 62 chirps a minute at 13°C in one common species; each species has its own rate). The relationship between temperature and the rate of chirping is known as Dolbear's Law. Using this law it is possible to calculate the temperature in Fahrenheit by adding 40 to the number of chirps produced in 14 seconds by the snowy tree cricket common in the United States.
  • A species of cricket has been discovered that does not chirp when expected. The species in question is prey to a parasitic fly that lays its eggs in the body of the cricket, so that the fly's larva can use the cricket as a food source. The cricket's behavior has evolved so that it only chirps at those times during which the fly is least active, which is outside of the usual temperature cycle for crickets.
  • Play enough vuvuzelas together, like at a World Cup match, and they sound like a swarm of gigantic drunken bees. You do need quite a World Cup stadium-sized crowd to get the effect, though; otherwise, they tend to sound like, well, a bunch of obnoxious plastic horns.
  • The sound of any Mazda powered by a rotary engine can also be described as resembling a swarm of angry bees.


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