By John Shumway


SEWICKLEY, Pa. (KDKA) — Red beady eyes glowing, the cicadas are swarming out of the ground on Woodland Avenue in Sewickley.

“Oh my word, the bugs are everywhere. I’m having a hard time handling this,” said Laura Cherock as she took her daily walk.

Glenn Himes and his wife, Heather, discovered them Sunday. They couldn’t miss the sound. Not the mating call of the cicadas…

“They were crunching under our feet. That’s when my wife said, I want to turn back. I don’t even want to walk anymore,” Glenn Himes said.

Jim Meli, of Murrysville, just looked on wide eyed.

“Oh, it’s amazing to see them come out like that. It’s incredible,” he said.

All over the ground, on the sidewalks, squashed in the streets by cars, the cicadas are crawling everywhere.

Bob Weakland, of West Mifflin, wanted to make it clear.

“I’m a man’s man. I like campin’, huntin’, fishin’. These things come out, and they just creep me out … They can look for love anywhere else that I’m not,” he said.

Roger Wiegard’s home is a front row seat to the 17-year cicada emergence.

“I think they’re kind of cool,” he said.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

And then there’s Dr. Chad Gore.

“I find them pretty fascinating. I think they’re really interesting,” he said.

A totally expected reaction from the entomologist from Ehrlich Pest Control. Gore says there really is no need to take action against the winged critters. Their mating ritual only lasts a couple weeks.

“They’re not harmful at all. They don’t bite at all. They’re actually quite fun to handle,” Gore said.

Cherock isn’t buying the “fun to handle” part.

“I know they’re not going to hurt me, but I still don’t want it on me … I mean he’s kind of cute, his face is colorful, but ehhhh,” she said.

The cicadas come out of the ground, climb the nearest tree, shed their shell, dry their wings and go looking for a mate.

“All the males are going to start calling. That’s all the noise that you’ll hear,” Gore said.

Once the mating is complete, the female digs grooves in a tree limb, lays her eggs, and she and the male go off to die. The babies will emerge from the eggs in a few weeks drop to the ground and burrow in for the next 17 years.

“It’s just a mystery of nature,” Gore said.

Of course, they never get to the making baby stage if they are eaten, and everything views them as a snack.

“They’re a great protein source, and they have a lot of fat,” Gore said.

In some cultures, they are considered a delicacy and are used in a wide variety of recipes or eaten raw.

With the soil temperatures now running in the 60s, the cicadas will continue to pop out in pockets and be around western Pennsylvania until early to mid-July.