Cooler weather brings out harmless creatures

Those at OCCC may have noticed an increase in cricket activity when fall rolled around.

For crickets, fall marks the beginning of a new generation. They spend most of the year hidden underground and only come out in the fall, said Biology Professor Dennis Anderson.

“This is when they mate and have thousands of offspring in a short period of time before going back underground when it gets cold again,” Anderson said.

“Larger animals, with fewer offspring, (teach their young) how to hunt and survive, but smaller animals and insects that have many offspring, just reproduce and leave them to survive on their own,” Anderson said.

“That’s why you see so many crickets this time of year.

“Crickets are harmless,” he said. “They don’t carry any diseases or poison like other insects.”

The dark-brown insects are not a big problem on campus, said J.B. Messer, Facilities Management director. Only a few find their way inside.

“Some crickets are inevitable,” he said. “Our campus has many handicap-accessible doors that run on a timer, which would allow crickets time to enter our buildings.”

College employees take a minimalist approach toward the insects.

“We do not use pesticides as a form of addressing them [crickets],” Messer said of crickets in classrooms or labs.

“We either sweep them up or vacuum them and dispose of them that way.”

Anderson perceives crickets as doing more good than harm.

“Crickets are actually good for our environment. They are a protein source for other insects as well as some animals,” Anderson said. “In some countries people eat them as well.”

Both Anderson and Messer agree that crickets are usually drawn to lighted, damp areas like parking lots.

”Crickets are cold-blooded insects,” Anderson said. “They depend on the weather to keep their bodies warm.”

Some steps can be taken to minimize their presence.

“Keep your porch lights off at your house,” Anderson said. “This will lessen the chance that crickets will get into your house.”

He doesn’t recommend poison either.

“Pesticides are not to be used unless they [crickets] are killing your crops,” he said. “Even if you spray a pesticide this year to kill them, they will still come back next year. Crickets are a very resilient insect.”

Anderson said, interestingly enough, a person can tell the temperature by these annoying little creatures.

“Count how many chirps there are in 14 seconds and add that to 40 and that’s the temperature outside,” he said. “It’s not exact but it’s close.”

Anderson said humans only have to live with these insects for a short period of time, until cold weather sets in.

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