PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020) – You hear about the dangers of ticks often in the spring and summer, but what you think is that blood sucking creature on you might be something completely different.
Entomologist Bill Todaro joined “The KDKA Morning News” with Larry Richert and John Shumway to discuss the difference between ticks and “billbugs” as well as dispel some other common insect misconceptions.
The type of beetle called a billbug is only looking for love and not dangerous, says Todaro.
“They look a lot different than a tick. I just don’t think that many people in Pittsburgh have experienced what it is like to have a tick on them so it looks scary,” he said. “They’re not looking for blood like ticks are, just brush them off (you). There’s nothing to worry about.”
Why are we all the sudden hearing about billbugs? Are they a new insect to our area?
“They are around every year. We had such a wet spring that I think we just have (more) of them,” he said.
He added that more adults survived the winter and were able to lay more eggs.
Todaro also dispelled some insect myths. Those big mosquitoes you see that scare you? They are actually called crane flies.
“All mosquitoes are about a quarter of an inch or less,” says Todaro. “[Crane flies] live peacefully in the yard.”
However, they are attracted to light on your porch.
A study recent claims that citronella candles are for the most part ineffective.
“Outdoors, most everything waves away with the breeze. In an enclosed porch out of the wind, it might work a little bit, but most mosquitoes are not repelled by citronella.”