It sounds like a bad cowboy and western movie from the 1950’s or some historic event that just wasn’t quite up to the same level as say, the Battle of Little Bighorn. While not an earth moving event that got lost in the historic shuffle of how the west was won ask anybody in Waco Texas their opinion of the impact of crickets on the area and you’ll get the same bleary eyed look of worn out disgust.
For whatever reason certain regions have massive amounts of specific insects and crickets have called Waco their home for many many years. If you google ‘crickets in Waco’ you only get a few related stories, (one from 1983) of the actual insect itself that plagues this town on an annual basis and the rest of the returns are for restaurants, hotels and bars that have crickets in their name. Apparently people have become quite numb to this nuisance and so the head lines and stories are short and could be summed up with “here we go again.”
While the weather is warmer the cricket population seems happy to hide in cracks and crevices by day and remain relatively tame coming out in the evening hours to feed. As the temperature drops the crickets get busy and start coming out in a big way looking for warmth, mates and laying more eggs for the next generation. One female can lay as many as 2000 eggs so you can see why the problem can quickly get out of hand. Crickets are omnivores and eat just about anything including other dead crickets. While most information on crickets indicates they do carry some diseases it’s not considered fatal to humans. Dead crickets and cricket fecal matter seems to be the main culprit but excessive handling is not recommended.
In dryer areas such as Waco the populations explode in the fall and these insects are literally everywhere. Exterminators gear up early and start spraying yards and exteriors in anticipation of the plague like numbers that come every year. Caulking cracks and sealing doors is highly encouraged as well as changing exterior lighting to yellow bulbs. While not the most nimble climbers crickets have been found as high as 5th and 6th floors presumably attracted to lights in a window. Waco residents often step outside in the morning to find hundreds around the doors and on their walkways and the active insect is not shy about crawling up your leg or back as you sit on a bench waiting for a bus.
Still, there doesn’t seem to be any worldwide out cry of this annual siege on the town of Waco. Residents have somehow learned to ignore the crickets and just try to make the situation tolerable. . Instead they have seemingly given in to the invaders and even paid homage by naming the local bar and grilles, events and other businesses after them. Much like the love bugs of Florida or the mosquitos of Alaska, citizens there have learned to put up with them and do their best to ignore the late night songs that echo through the streets at night or tune out the rogue few that snuck their way inside and are harmonizing from the kitchen.
I guess this was a bad subject to write about for Google notoriety and I can’t imagine this story getting more hits than the Crickets Grill & Draft House. I suppose I’ll take my place below the 1983 entry or the few news sites that will soon drop their articles when the bugs are gone. Like the crickets of Waco my story will still be here and perhaps looked at once per year but for the most part, me and the crickets will just be silent.