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Big but beneficial: Specific cricket widespread in Raleigh homes

Posted September 9, 2014

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— There are crickets. And then there are camel crickets. Some people call them spider crickets. No matter the name, they are bigger and, to some, creepier than your standard-issue cricket.

And bug experts at North Carolina State University are finding that they are very common in North Carolina.

"We've learned that this non-native species from Asia, called the greenhouse camel cricket, is very, very common in basements and garages in the eastern U.S.," said Dr. Holly Menninger, an N.C. State entomologist.

As for the creep-out factor, Menninger says camel crickets can be aggressive, and that they can trigger a startling reaction for the unprepared.

"They have a tendency, instead of being afraid of you, to jump at you," she said.

Menninger first encountered camel crickets as a graduate student in Maryland.

"Our basement was what some might call infested with camel crickets," she said. "Every time I'd have to go down and do my laundry, I'd have to tip-toe to make sure I didn't squish any."

When she got to NC State, she decided to study camel crickets, working on a census of sorts.

She and fellow researchers asked the public to report whether they had the insects in their homes. The results: 90 percent of respondents reported a specific kind of camel cricket.

"It's really the data from citizen scientists that has enabled us to make these discoveries about the camel crickets," she said.

Menninger pointed out that camel crickets might be creepy, but they don't bite or cause any problems for humans.

They even do some housework, she said.

"They may be the clean-up crew," she said. "They're probably eating dead fungus, other dead insects that may be in your house, which may be a good thing."

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  • cinder572 Sep 9, 2014

    I've heard the term cave crickets but at our house we call them gollum crickets...

  • Mark Farmer Sep 9, 2014
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    one day back in 1996 I never seen them before and all of a sudden when crawling under a home I saw about 5,000 of them, I was scared.

    that was when I found out about camel back crickets.

  • Supie Sep 9, 2014

    found two centipedes in my home this year called "hairy maries"... very scary looking, One was 5" long and the other 3"... internet says they eat other bugs so good to have, but eeuww... "scary maries" more like.

  • leighleclair Sep 9, 2014

    I have these creepy bugs at my house.. my cats hated them. Guess they don't taste very good.

  • Jeri Massi Sep 9, 2014
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    My dog Lucky LOVES them. (PS: I also call them cave crickets). As soon as I see one, I say, "Cave cricket, Lucky!" And my black and white Tibetan Terrier pounces on it. Or tries to. The erratic hopping makes for about two minutes of play until Lucky wins the game. The cricket, needless to say, loses.

  • emaleth Sep 9, 2014

    These things are not new to NC. They were in our storage shed outside my house when I was a child (yes that was in NC). They seem to have the uncanny habit of sitting near the light switch. Once when I was a kid, I caught several anoles and released them inside the storage shed. No more crickets.

  • lucasd06 Sep 9, 2014

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    No, too much cricket.

  • Doug Hanthorn Sep 9, 2014
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    I had about a trillion of them in my crawlspace. Unbelievable. A couple of bug bombs took care of it and they didn't come back.

  • Roy Abel Sep 9, 2014
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    It's bad luck to kill a cricket in the house....;)

  • 45ACP Sep 9, 2014

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    Too much time on your hands?

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