Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bug Invasions

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

My youngest telephoned from his yard a few days ago so that I could hear the cicadas.  The incredibly annoying insects, which my dad always called "jar flies" and I always thought were ordinary locusts, hibernate for seventeen years before crawling out of the ground, mating, laying eggs, and promptly dying.  Some hatch every year, but there is one main year when most seem to come out at once.  2013 is on of those years.  The collective noise that a bazillion cicadas make can damn near be deafening.

Today I read (in a British newspaper) that much of the state of Oklahoma is suffering a plague of field crickets.  The insects hatch out yearly, do their thing, and also promptly die.  This year, probably due to weather conditions - a drought followed by an unusually wet season, the numbers of these crickets have soared in Oklahoma.  They are so thick that they have generate an odor similar to that of rotting meat.  The noisy interlopers are apparently cannibalistic, and when one dies, or is killed by a pesky human, others descend on the dearly departed and eat his carcass.

Which puts me in mind of a trip that our family made to California when I was ten-years-old.  Late one night we stopped at a gas station in Needles, California, that was literally covered in crickets, so much so that the building and pumps appeared to be a shimmering black color.  When my dad opened the car door to deal with getting the tank filled, the crickets poured into the car.  It was a harrowing experience, worthy of a Wes Craven movie script.

I have also known of houses that were rendered uninhabitable due to swarms of roaches, and a couple of years ago a house in Phoenix had to be torn down because its walls were packed with busy bees.

One is left to wonder how long our six-legged neighbors will tolerate being stomped, swatted, and sprayed - or more to the point, how long they will tolerate us?  If it's a survival contest, my money is on the bugs!


molly. said...

I'm in Oklahoma now & the crickets are disgusting. We were walking downtown the other day and Sebastian had to be carried during parts of the walk because there was no empty place on the sidewalk to step. Wearing flip-flops for this trip was one of my worst ideas to date. I will send you a photo of the INSIDE entryway to Braum's to give you an idea of the carnage. A cricket hit Sebastian in the eye yesterday when he was zooming along on his bike. Tonight he walked into the house with a large wasp sitting on his shirt. Judah has bites all over him. I'm with you, the insects will win this battle, easily.

Xobekim said...

Our newest kitten, the one we found in the backyard when she was barely weaned, loves the cicadas, grasshoppers, and crickets. She exercises her prowess as the great feline hunter by capturing them. Of course she brings them into the house where she toys with them until they are dead. It would take a lot of kittens to control the Oklahoma outbreak.