Did you know that you can tell the temperature by counting the chirps of a cricket? It’s true! Here’s the formula…
The Cricket as a Thermometer
Back in 1897, a scientist named Amos Dolbear published an article “The Cricket as a Thermometer” that noted the correlation between the ambient temperature and the rate at which crickets chirp.
The formula expressed in that article became known as Dolbear’s Law. It’s surprisingly simple:
To convert cricket chirps to degrees Fahrenheit:
Just count the number of chirps in 14 seconds, then add 40 to get the temperature.
The number you get will be an approximation of the outside temperature.
Example: 30 chirps + 40 = 70° F
To convert cricket chirps to degrees Celsius:
Count the number of chirps in 25 seconds, divide by 3, then add 4 to get the temperature.
Example: 48 chirps /(divided by) 3 + 4 = 20° C
Use the method you prefer and then convert to degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit using our temperature converter.
To find out this week’s weather in your region, see our seven-day forecast. (See which one’s more accurate! :-)
Why Do Crickets Chirp?
So, how and why do crickets make that chirping sound, anyway? Chirping is a cricket’s way of communicating. Male crickets use chirping to attract females, scare off other males, or warn of danger.
Contrary to popular belief, crickets do not use their legs to chirp! In fact, crickets produce the iconic sound by rubbing the edges of their wings together. The male cricket rubs a scraper (a sharp ridge on his wing) against a series of wrinkles, or “files”, on the other wing. The tone of the chirping depends upon the distance between the wrinkles.
There are several reasons why crickets chirp. They may be:
- Calling to attract a female with a a loud and monotonous sound
- Courting a nearby female with a quick, softer chirp
- Behaving aggressively during the encounter of two males
- Sounding a danger alert when sensing trouble
Crickets are part of the family Orthoptera (grasshoppers and katydids). Enjoy more cricket facts and how to take care of pet crickets.
Next time you hear a cricket, test out its temperature-telling prowess and let us know how it goes!