Once about every 17 years there is a massive emergence of some pretty creepy looking critters called cicadas. Not only will you be able to identify cicadas by their massive emergence from the ground but there is also a distinct noise that the males make in an attempt to find a mate. While it is not always known exactly when cicadas will emerge, if you do happen to find them this year around your property take it from the Pittsburgh pest control specialists at Witt, there is no need to worry. Although their broad bodies with large round eyes can be quite disturbing in large numbers, cicadas do not bite, sting or otherwise harm people or the area they are infesting.
Cicadas in Pittsburgh as well as across the country only come out once every 17 years. They spend most of their life underground, feeding on shrub and tree roots and only come out to mate, lay eggs, and then they die usually just a few weeks later. Once they emerge from the ground, cicadas will molt their skin and develop a hard body with wings. The males will then begin to sing loudly for the females and this is often the biggest complaint when homeowners are dealing with an emergence of cicadas.
After mating, females will deposit her eggs into a safe place like the inside of a tree for example. She has a strong ovipositor, which is much like the stinger of a bee, and she uses it to get through wood in order to deposit her eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae will drop to the ground where they burrow and then the 17-year cycle begins again. It is important to note though, not all cicadas follow the same 17-year schedule. There could be years when few come out, or years when hundreds emerge. Some species of cicadas even emerge every year.
While the life of cicadas does not sound all that exciting, the good news is that if you do have cicadas on your property this year, they are not likely to return for a long time! Our Pittsburgh pest control professionals say that there is no harm in the emergence of cicadas, just a waiting period until they complete their life cycle of hibernation, mating and dying.