(See posting “Jumping Crickets,” 9/27/2011, and “Jumpinig Crickets Redux,” 10/2/2011)
Just a few years ago, I had never heard of a camel cricket. Now I find one or two a week in my basement, but some of my neighbors have many more.
You turn on the light and find the crickets just sitting there motionless, and your first inclination is to step on them. That never works. Motionless or not, those big hind legs are cocked ready to spring. The cricket just pulls the trigger as your foot comes down, pops a few feet away, and laughs. Their other common name is a jumping cricket. Some people claim they jump toward them. I think they jump in a random direction, but people remember the jumps toward them.
They are not attacking you. They do not bite, sting, or chew on anything of yours. They will not run up your pant leg. They do not chirp, either. They just sit quietly in your dark basement. They go for the moisture there, and you will not find them in your attic. They like the dark, and the kindest alternate name for them is “cave cricket.”
Hazardous or not, they sure are ugly. When something that ugly jumps toward you, you take notice. I have noticed enough to run all the way back up the basement steps in a panic. God must have had a nightmare when he designed them. They are about a half inch long with prominent legs and a body that arches up. Hit them with a fly swatter and they turn into green goo with black legs sticking out. Since the ones I swat are down in the basement, I leave them there to dry out and sweep the legs up later. I usually find them at the bottom of the basement steps, but never on the steps. I suspect they are attracted to the light coming under the door at the top, but who knows what goes on in that tiny brain?
They are also incredibly stupid. An easy way to kill them is to lay out strips of duct tape sticky side up. They are attracted to the adhesive, get stuck, and die there. You would think other camel crickets would see this and keep away, but no, they continue to pile onto the dead bodies of their Uncle Ed and Aunt Flo until you can’t even see the tape anymore. Their antennae may wave around for another few days, but they do not struggle to get loose. That’s stupid!
The cheapest duct tape that I get at the dollar store works the best. Their soft adhesive is a prime rib dinner to a cricket. A roll will last a lifetime. Taking the filled tape to the garbage is one of my most disgusting chores.
I sometimes feel sorry for them. Imagine going through your entire life that ugly and that stupid.
Oh, sorry. You already know. (It’s a joke . . . a joke!)
And now that I think of it, I do see baby crickets, so they must have some fun in the dark, but I don’t want to know the details.