PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Allegheny County Health Department says they have been getting a lot of calls about swarms of unidentified flying objects, some sort of black bug that looks like a tick.
Turns out, it’s something of a love story.
“They’re so tick-like, and there’s so many of them, people think there’s a ton of ticks,” says Entomologist, Bill Todaro.
We handed him a baggie-full, and he knew exactly what they were.
“You call it a Billbug – it’s a Nut and Acorn Weevil – it’s a weevil that has a mouthpart like a snout.”
But Billbugs do not bite people – or carry diseases like ticks do. And unlike ticks – they’ve been swarming around pools – or on car roofs.
“Ticks don’t swarm in huge numbers – you find one at a time maybe two at a time.”
Todaro says, all the recent billbugs swarms are because these members of the beetle family are looking for love in all the wrong places.
“Wave lengths of light that are attractive to females – where they are going to find a mate – fall in love – and have sex.”
Billbugs are vegans.
“And this mouth part here that they chew holes in vegetation.”
And in the Billbug’s grub stage it’s well-mowed, high-maintenance lawns that are usually the only casualties. Pesticides can save grass – if you use them early enough.
But, not to worry about what really amounts to a nuisance. The Billbugs love fest only lasts about two-weeks and we’re nearly at the end.