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Arborist Says Cicadas May Be The Least Of Our Creep Crawly Worries This Spring, Summer

By: KDKA-TV Digital Content Producer Heather Lang

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- It's that time of year when all the creepy crawly critters come back out to play.

You have probably been hearing a lot about the return of the cicadas, but it turns out that might not be the only insect that will be bugging us this spring and summer.

This season's influx of cicadas are known as Brood X. It sounds like a pretty menacing name, but Todd Sherbondy, a certified arborist with The Davey Tree Company, says they may not pose much of an issue here in Western Pennsylvania.

"Going further into the southern end of the state, Pittsburgh may not be impacted as much as we think," Sherbondy said. "Some of the areas going a little further east, down into Philadelphia, even into Washington DC, those are the areas that are really going to have the problems."

However, Sherbondy says that insects don't know anything about property lines.

"Realistically speaking, insects don't pay attention to property lines or county lines, so they could be a potential issue going into some of our areas as well," he said.

While they can be "foreboding, noisy little critters," Sherbondy says "they pose no issue or real danger to humans," but they can damage the young trees you have just planted in your yard for the warmer seasons.

"What the cicadas actually do, they'll damage some of those more succulent growth portions of the plant," he said.

As bad as that sounds, Sherbondy says there are several other types of insects that can cause even more damage. They include the Japanese beetle, the Emerald Ash borer and the tent caterpillar.

Of them all, Sherbondy says the Eastern Tent Caterpillar can be "pretty devastating."

"A lot of times, the trees will recover the damage, but the unfortunate thing is, the more food producing mechanism that you destroy, the leaves of a tree, the harder it is for the tree to recover," he says.

The Emerald Ash Borer can also be a nasty little bug.

"Emerald ash borer [is] about the size of a dime," says Sherbondy. "They attack predominantly one species of tree. They bore into the vascular tissue or the water transporting mechanism in the tree. They can choke the tree out. So they're pretty nasty little guys."

As for the Japanese Beetles, Sherbondy had some advice on how to keep them away from your trees, shrubs and other greenery.

"The easiest thing to do is to get a trap or use some type of soap, you can dry out the cuticle of the insect and it actually slows them down," he said. "Traps are the best, they usually fall right into though; the problem is, you have to empty them on a regular basis."

Finally, if you have an adventurous palate, there's another, um, interesting way to deal with those annoying cicadas.

Sherbondy says, "Cicadas are low in calorie."

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