Crickets have taken refuge in cities across Texas and are at an all-time high in the Dallas-Fort Worth areas, creating a large presence at UNT.
As the temperature starts to drop, crickets, which are also attracted to lights, tend to seek out warmer and more habitable homes to minimize their interaction with colder temperatures.
“Some of these critters seek warmer temperatures and don’t mind moving inside human habitation or wherever temperatures are more moderate,” Dr. Kenneth Steigman, the director of Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area said. “Environmental conditions in any given year can produce a surplus or little with regard to reproduction in all plants and animals.”
When they are not flocked to the nearest lamp post, crickets have scattered all throughout campus in search of finding homes to take on the oncoming winter.
UNT residence halls have had the most cricket attraction throughout this season with crickets littering the perimeters of the doorways and building fronts.
“With the attraction to light, this population increase could possibly be from all of the construction going on and or the new parking lot lamp posts for the lot,” Associate Director of Housing Craig Zemmin said.
Traditions Hall and Legends Hall leads with the greatest amount of crickets, but they are ubiquitous throughout the residence halls on campus.
Due to mild winters and wet springs, which Denton had previously experienced, crickets are drawn out and have amounted to a greater population than they had been before.
“This past year is the worst I’ve ever seen them,” Zemmin said. “It’s an issue and we need to get rid of them.”
UNT followed through with multiple methods in attempts to reduce the sight of crickets on campus and or near the residence halls.
At the start of this cricket outbreak, Zemmin said UNT contacted pest control specialists right away for treatment options and also found alternative methods that could be done by the custodial staff while waiting for the treatments to take effect.
“We want to litigate the landscaping as much as we possibly can,” Zemmin said. “This method has proven to work very effectively here on campus with prior use.”
Bruce Hall, known for its insect mascot, is an example of reducing the cricket population by changing the surrounding landscape. By doing so, professionals were able to move around and get rid of any decomposing crickets that had remained in spots that were not so easy to get to.
Zemmin suggested that the crickets, specifically at Traditions Hall, could be the outcome of the neighboring construction site. With the mass disturbances of the ground and the addition to lamp posts at the site, crickets fled to the nearest source to avoid the ongoing disruption.
“We hope to move forward and clean up as much as we possibly can,” Zemmin said. “If students continue to see these crickets, feel free to reach out to us [housing] so we can get it taken care of properly.”
What started as a regular occurrence in everyday life soon transformed into crickets being scattered in clumps around the campus crevices over the university.
“The crickets scare the hell out of me,” visual arts studies freshman Al Parker said. “I’ll just be walking to class or to my car at night and suddenly I’m surrounded in a sea of them.”
Parker compared the abundance of crickets to the game Tetris, as it made it hard to walk around the masses without getting a foot full of cricket guts.
“If the space isn’t already occupied by some other object, there’s likely to be crickets there,” Parker said.
In amidst of this cricket dilemma, UNT was not alone in the increasing numbers of visibility and or appearance. Other regions of the North Texas area had been undergoing the same issues.
However, the start of cooler weather will lead to the slow decrease of the cricket population around campus.
Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas