PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – There’s an app for that! Now you can download an app to track, photograph and help map cicadas as they invade western Pennsylvania.

Gene Kritski, the dean of behavioral and natural sciences at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati has studied cicadas throughout his career. Now, the expert on the pesky insect has developed the Cicada Safari app to help track the swarm.

In only a few weeks the 17-year Brood VIII cicadas will begin emerging in parts of Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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“Periodical cicadas are bugs of history,” Dr. Kritsky said. “They are generational events, and many people use the emergence to mark the passage of time, recall key events in their lives and just remember where they were and what they were doing the last time the cicadas came out.”

The app was created to help scientists observe the emergence by empowering the common person with the power to track, photograph and map the insects.

“We developed this app because so many people are fascinated by cicadas,” he said. “This is true citizen science. People can use their phones with our app to track, photograph and help us map the cicadas to verify where they are emerging. An issue with citizen science projects is the difficulty to verify new observations. The photographs submitted to our map are like voucher specimens permitting us to verify the observations making the maps more useful for future research.”

Anyone can join the Cicada Safari and help map the 2019 emergence by downloading the app.