WASHINGTON - The cicadas that started emerging across the D.C. region back in May can lead to problems to your vehicle and to dangers on the roadways, say experts with AAA Mid-Atlantic.
The red-eyes bugs are attracted to heat, AAA says, and that attraction can cause issues if the insects obstruct air flow to your vehicle and lead to overheating.
"While cicadas are harmless, they can cause quite a bit of damage externally and internally to vehicles," explained Melvin Escobar, Car Care Manager at the AAA Rockville Car Care Center. "Drivers are urged to take proactive steps to protect their vehicles while cicadas are in the area."
Earlier this month, a charter flight for the White House press corps was delayed by mechanical issues caused by cicadas, Fox News reported.
AAA TIPS TO KEEP YOUR VEHICLE CICADA FREE:
Protect the Exterior of the Vehicle: Bug remains sitting on your car for too long will eat away at your car's exterior. Wash your vehicle frequently with a car wash solution (not household dish washing detergent) paying special attention to the windshield and headlights. Waxing your vehicle can also add an extra layer of protection.
Wipers: Make sure your wipers are working and your washer fluid is full. Special bug washer fluid with advanced technology can be purchased from local stores to keep the glass bug free and enhance driving visibility.
Clear the Grill: Cicadas can do real damage to vehicles by clogging radiator grills, causing the engine to overheat. Get a grille cover, bug screen or just stretch some netting over the front of your car.
Filters: Cabin and air filters can become a playground for cicadas as these insects like to hide in the air filter or in the cabin filter housing. Drivers should pay attention to these areas, listen for any unusual sounds and bring their car into a AAA Car Care Center, or AAA Approved Auto Repair facility for a free maintenance inspection.
A bug – like a cicada – getting inside of your vehicle can present a different type of hazard. According to AAA, having a bug inside your vehicle increases your risk of a crash by more than six times.
Earlier this month, a cicada was blamed for causing a car crash in Ohio after flying through an open window and hitting the driver in the face.
"Don't slam on the brakes. Don't stop in a traffic lane. Simply slow down and slowly pull over. Once in a safe place, roll down the window, and the cicada will bid you farewell," said Escobar.
AAA TIPS TO KEEP CICADA OUT OF YOUR VEHICLE:
Keep your Cool: Remain calm and keep your attention on the road until you can locate a safe place to pull over. If there are passengers in the car, advise them to remain calm as well.
Travel with Windows and Sunroofs Closed: This will reduce the chance of a cicada getting into the car.
Don't get Flummoxed when a Cicada Invades your Car: Say "Shoo, fly!" One's response to the invasion can be a distraction and increase odds of a crash and potential danger to you, passengers and other drivers.
Wear your Seat Belt: Remember to buckle up – every trip, every time, no matter the circumstance.
FOX 5 spoke with University of Maryland entomologist Michael Raupp who said we can expect the Brood X cicadas to be with us until around the Fourth of July.