The 17-year cicada is coming back

Updated:

Loading
PITTSBURGH —

The 17-year cicada invasion is expected to hit the eastern United States hard this spring, but will it extend to Western Pennsylvania? Target 11's Robin Taylor turned to a bug expert for answers.

The cicada invasion is creating a lot of buzz. It will be big up and down the East Coast, from the Carolinas to New York, and that includes Pennsylvania, but according to the expert, the cicadas aren't going to be seen here in Pittsburgh.

They'll be in Harrisburg, but they aren't going to make it over the mountains into Western Pennsylvania. We're on a different cycle. The 17-year cicada will make a return to the South Hills in 2016.

Here's an interesting bit of trivia. The North and South Hills are on two different cycles, with the Ohio River acting as the dividing line. The cicadas will return to points north of Pittsburgh in 2019.

"We have some interesting broods -- and ones that are largely restricted to us -- of this cicada. They just won't be here this year," said John Rawlins, an entomologist with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Cicadas dig holes up through the ground where they've been maturing for the past 17 years, and then the adults look for mates.

They're harmless to humans, but they can make a lot of noise, and if the sky darkens from a swarm of them, it can be a bit scary.

Rawlins says there are some cicadas that are not on a 17-year cycle, so we could see other types of these bugs around the area this year, just not in large numbers.