Large bugs that look like yellow jackets
Hi. It sounds like you are referring to cicadas, which are, indeed, “true” bugs; they are in the same group as stink bugs and boxelder bugs (order Hemiptera), which may also be familiar to you. There is an excellent Ohio State University fact sheet on cicadas here with everything you might want to know about them. In short, there are two basic types: periodical cicadas, which emerge after 13 or 17 years of development, and “dog-day” cicadas, which have much shorter life spans (2-5 years). In both cases, the vast majority of their life is spent underground feeding on tree roots, so people are typically only aware of them after they emerge as adults. At that point, they live 2-4 weeks. At this time of year, we are dealing with dog day cicadas. They don’t all emerge at the same time, so you will likely be hearing them into September, since the last ones usually emerge in August.