International Cricket Now in a Basement Near You
If you live in the eastern U.S. chances are that a camel cricket is living in your basement or garage. Scavengers by trade, they have taken over and ousted the more common native species. Also known as the greenhouse cricket or cave cricket, these relative newcomers arrived from Asia in the 19th century.
Camel crickets are lighter in color than native species, with a tan and brown banding on their hind legs.
Crickets have always lived among us, but a recent study showed their numbers to be staggering. In tandem with citizen-researcher reports, post-doctoral student at Mary Jane Epps has tallied the numbers at an estimated 700 million camel crickets. Epps, a student at North Caroling State University, said, “We don’t know what kind of impact this species has on local ecosystems, though it’s possible that the greenhouse camel cricket could be driving out native camel cricket species in homes.”
The cricket counting has benefitted from homeowners willing to fill out observation forms on bug citings, and by having a website, yourwildlife.org, where citizens can report their bug findings.
Camel crickets have thrived by living on almost any kind of food, and therefore can be helpful to have around. They hunt for garbage and debris and by consuming it actually clean up dusty spaces like storage units, garages, and basements.