The current cricket invasion many are experiencing in parts of East and Central Texas isn’t particularly unusual, but the timing is.
Dr. Michael Merchant, AgriLife Extension urban entomologist at Dallas, said he’s had a number of reports from Central and East Texas folks concerned with the high number of crickets they’re seeing this year.
“I attribute this to early warm temperatures and recent rains that serve as a trigger for cricket flights,” Merchant said. “This is the earliest cricket infestation that I can recall though. We usually have cricket swarms following our late summer and fall rains.”
Merchant said cricket outbreaks are among the most predictable pest occurrences in Texas. Most of the invaders are black field crickets belonging to the Gryllus assimilis complex.
“We usually see this phenomenon in August and September when our typical summer drought is broken by rainfall and cooler temperatures,” Merchant said. “That’s happened earlier this year, leading to the high numbers we are seeing now.”
Merchant said field crickets are outside insects which don’t breed or live indoors, so the chance of damage is minimal.
“During severe outbreaks, like some are having now, they can become a nuisance around homes and businesses due to the sheer numbers. They swarm up walls, over sidewalks and eventually die, causing an unsightly mess and foul odors,” he said.
Merchant said home and business owners can greatly reduce the onslaught by turning off outdoor lights that attract the insects. He said bright outside lighting is the leading cause of high cricket concentrations.