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Crickets Invade Oklahoma

Crickets Invade Central Oklahoma
Crickets cover the wall of a McDonald’s fast food restaurant in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Photo courtesy of Maria Martinez

This summer was just right for crickets this year in many parts of central and northeast Oklahoma.

According to Southwest Oklahoma’s State University (SWOSU) Bernhardt Professor of Biological Studies, Dr. Peter Grant, the warm winter from last year as well as the on and off again rain during the July and August months resulted in extremely high numbers of crickets during this year’s mating season.

“A mild winter meant that fewer eggs died from freezing. The rain we did have later on gave us lush vegetation and so lots of food for the nymphs,” Dr. Grant said. “So, temperature and precipitation conditions were just right for the growing nymphs. That usually means lots of adults.”

Dr. Grant also states that the crickets are attracted to lights so higher concentrations of adults will appear in lighted areas, especially areas with outdoor lights such as gas stations and stores.

Oklahoma City residents report that aside from the shrieking chirps these bugs give off, the smell is also not very pleasing and some residents have compared it to rotting meat.

Only male crickets can chirp and each chirp has a different meaning: The calling song is what attracts female crickets for mating. This chirp is fairly loud to attract to potential mates and to repel other males. The courting song happens when a female is near, this song is actually a quiet song. An aggressive song is used when another male cricket is near. Last the copulatory song is sung when a male cricket has successfully mated with a female.

The crickets tendency to turn to cannibalism does not make the smell any better. The insects will result to this when there is no adequate diet.

Dr. Grant believes that the infestation should start to disappear in the next week or two when the crickets lay their eggs for the next generation then die.

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