The resurgence of crickets in Texas this summer is undeniable.
Annually, from late summer into fall, Central Texas experiences the mass emergence of black field crickets. They take to the skies, lay eggs, then multiple from residents' perspectives.
However, the truth is these crickets have silently dwelled here for months, hidden underground during the scorching summer days. They reemerge under the shroud of night, typically going unnoticed as they forage for sustenance.
Recent rainfall has provided an abundant food and water supply, creating ideal conditions for this year's mass emergence, as attested by Wizzie Brown, an entomologist at Texas A&M Forest Service. These insects heed environmental cues, slowing their metabolism during adverse conditions and springing to life when circumstances favor them.
However, determining what constitutes a "big year" for crickets proves elusive due to their tendency to cluster in certain areas. While some regions host only a few crickets, others suffer from colossal infestations.
Unusually high cricket populations this year may be linked to an extended summer drought. Researchers suggest that dry conditions reduce fungal diseases among cricket eggs and nymphs, allowing more to mature into adulthood, as Texas A&M Agrilife Extension highlights.
For those eager to avoid cricket swarms, Brown recommends the simple solution of switching off outdoor lights to reduce their attraction. Additional precautions include sealing entrances and maintaining clutter-free spaces, reducing potential hiding spots.