Pennsylvania is one of at least seven states being affected this year by the return of the once-every-17-years insect phenomenon known as the cicada.
Often identified incorrectly as locusts, the cicadas last emerged from the ground in 1996. This year’s insects are the offspring of those same creatures.
The cicadas will live only two to three weeks, but their lifespans can be affected by winds and rain. Although they emerge from the ground, the new visitors — once they have mated — will normally lay their eggs in a slit in a tree branch. This can be harmful to smaller trees, although larger trees may only lose a couple of branches. Experts say trees can be protected with wraps of garden netting or foil.
Some people have found ways to utilize cicadas. Fishermen use them for bait. Some people even eat them.