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Cricket outbreak causes concern for some in area

Published: Monday, July 9, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07

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Roger Zhang -- THE BATTALION

Recent warm and moist weather has spawned masses of crickets. The crickets will mate, lay eggs and leave upon maturing.

Field crickets have been plaguing College Station this summer but their reign is nearing its end.

The crickets mating season has driven these insects to come out and their increased numbers could be due to favorable hatching conditions of a warm, wet winter and a moist spring, said Spencer Behmer, associate professor in the Department of
Entomology.

Students have been noticing the problem all around town.

“They are everywhere and it’s disgusting,” said Michelle Erwin, senior special education major.

Faculty members echoed this sentiment.

“On Thursday I went and took my car up to Garlyn Shelton and there’s a service bay you have to drive underneath between the maintenance place and the auto shop; there were literally thousands of crickets that they were sweeping up,” Behmer said.

The average life span of these field crickets is about three to four weeks. Behmer said the adult life cycle is about reproduction, once they lay their first few egg batches, they will be on their way out.

Crickets are hemimetabolous insects, meaning they are unable to fly until maturity. They have remained in masses for so long because they are unable to relocate, Behmer said.

The majority of the crickets flocking to areas have been females. The sex of the cricket can be determined by the presence or lack of a long, stinger-like ovipositor coming off the back of the cricket. This organ is used by females to lay eggs in the ground.

Another distinguishing factor between males and females in crickets is chirping. The females do not chirp only the males do. The males chirp to look for mates.

While they are still here, Rebecca Clark, postdoctoral research associate for the Department of Entomology, gave some advice on keeping the crickets away.

“We know that at night they are attracted to lights,” Clark said.

To keep the crickets away one can either turn off outside lights around your house or replace them with bug lights, which are yellow in color, she said. These lights can be found at most hardware stores.

 

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