NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Now that the much-discussed 17-year cicadas have begun their emergence, many have wondered how the insects should be dealt with.
As WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported, the cicadas will be on the sides of houses and buildings, and on trees.
The periodical bugs, known to be the longest living insects, have been maturing underground for 17 years.
“It can be creepy, especially if you already have a fear of insects,” said Rutgers Entomology Chair Dr. George Hamilton.
They can also be loud. But Hamilton emphasized that they are harmless.
“The thing you don’t want to do is go out and spray an insecticide to try and kill these insects,” Hamilton said. “There’s no reason to really kill the cicadas but if they have, are traveling around with this poison in them, your pet could eat them.”
Wildlife is also in danger if insecticides are used, said Bergen County Audubon Society President Don Torino, who said birds are going to love the insects.
“It’s going to be like a smorgasbord,” Torino said. “It’s going to be like the giant salad bar.”
He said that will help birds and other wildlife.
“They’ll have a higher survival rate, easier way to find food,” Torino said.
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But WCBS 880’s Deborah Rodriguez reported cicadas are causing some annoyance as moms and dads plan graduation parties.
Margaret Rosenzweig of Dutchess County remembers the last cicada invasion in 1996. She was cradling her baby boy on her outside deck in Rhinebeck.
“I said the next time these crazy little black bugs come to town, you’ll be graduating from high school,” Rosenzweig said. “And here I am today, planning my high school graduation around those crazy little bugs.”
Lucky for Rosenzweig and her son, Eric, the family has a screened-in porch. But neighbor Mary Joe Henke is not quite as lucky, and will move her party inside.
“Still going to set up some tables around the pool for the kids, because I think they’ll go out with the bus,” she said. “But I don’t know if anyone really wants to stand around having drinks and eating with bugs flying at them.”
By entomologists’ estimates, Henke will have 1.5 million cicadas in her front yard just in time for her son Paul’s graduation party next Friday.
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