At Thanksgiving supper, somehow the conversation turned to crickets. No, that's not quite right. Crickets were mentioned in passing. The conversation topic was actually Bob the Orkin man. Edie, one of VBGF's mom's friends is completely bug-phobic and was lamenting the retirement of her beloved Orkin Man. She was sighing dramatically and fondly remembering the day of the tornado, where she refused to let Bob leave and they huddled in her basement for the afternoon. Edie is one of those older women who is kind of frail and girlish and she squeaks in fear of bugs. She has a sort of silly innocence about her, in spite of her smoker's deep voice. I would never use the words tough or earthy to describe her, although this is not to say that I wouldn't use the words brave and strong. I mention all this only to give you an idea of how funny it was to hear Edie talk about Bob the Orkin Man. It started off as one comment and then a story and then she kept talking about him. And everything she said was innocent but sounded naughty and she kept on and on. I thought her grown daughter Brandy was going to snarfle wine all over her artsy sweater. Brandy wasn't the only one. After a few Bob stories complete with misty eyes and intimate details (like how his hands were yellow from all the years with the pesticides!) the whole table was in hysterics.
But Edie (apparently through her decade long association with Bob the Orkin Man) has learned much about the insects she fears so much and she passed on some valuable information to me. She told me (repeatedly) that I must get my own Orkin Man (and that if I got a good one, I should hold on to him). She was horrified to hear me say that I had qualms about killing Chesters. She told me I had to get over that. Also, she confided that she didn't think I had "normal" crickets. She told me that not many people realized, but we have been invaded by a new and terrible type of cricket. She told me to tell "my" Orkin Man that she thought I had a camel back cricket infestation. She whispered the last few words as if she were afraid of reprisals and then quickly looked over her shoulder. I love Edie, but she is whacked.
I came home and consulted that pest control specialist, Google. Here's what I found out about camel back crickets:
You can expect to have them migrating out of the crawl space and into living areas of the home. This is disconcerting to residents since this cricket is unusual to look at. It is almost hairy looking with all its antennae. Since it grows large, many people are surprised at just how big they are. Another unique feature of this cricket is that they jump randomly and are more likely to jump at you than away from you.What?? Hairy bugs with lots of antennae who eat fabric? (Oh my precious quilt fabric stash!) Who jump randomly AT you and who are rather large and meaty - meaty enough to draw rats? Was this bug designed in hell with me in mind??
Another problem with letting camel back cricket populations go unchecked is that they can cause a lot of damage to fabric. They love to eat both synthetic and manmade material including rugs, furniture, books, canvas, clothing, boxes, linen, drapery, and just about anything we have in our living area. This can lead to damage which looks like some type of moth. Because this cricket is rather large and meaty, mice and rats are fond of them. Many times rats and mice will take advantage of populations which are active in your home. This could lead to rat and mouse infestations as well and will require even more pest control.
Edie, Edie - I can't believe I doubted you! I realize that Bob is taken, but do you think I could talk him into setting me up with his little brother?