Drought conditions lead to Huntsville cricket, insect invasion
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 00:09
They are inside the residence halls, local restaurants, and even classrooms on campus. Students scream when they see them on the floor and in bathrooms. The crickets have come.
Students living in the residence halls across campus are voicing their concern over the bugs in the dorms.
“My roommate and I noticed crickets fall from the vent in our bathroom,” Alyssa Mostaffa, freshman pre-med major living in Crawford, said. “There were 40 of them all over our bathroom floor.”
Mostaffa filed a maintenance request to take care of the bugs. Residence Life Maintenance came out and sprayed the vent with pesticide and covered it with a plastic trash bag to collect the remains.
Other students have had medical issues resulting from the horde of insects.
Cameron Chalmers, a kinesiology major, said she has to carry around anti-itch topical medication.
“I’m certain we have bedbugs in our dorm,” Chalmers said.
Aliyah Lockhart, kinesiology major, is concerned about the bugs in the scholastic buildings on campus.
“I’m terrified,” Lockhart said. “We see them in the Lee Drain Building in the halls and classrooms.”
Shelby Henington, also a kinesiology major, complains about the bugs as a distractions in class.
“People will see the bugs and start screaming and freaking out about them,” Henington said.
Jack-In-The-Box manager Oscar Flores sees the problem in his restaurant.
“It’s an obvious problem,” Flores said. “We have to have a pest control company from Houston come out about twice a week. I call the corporate office and they pay for AAA Pest Control to help control the problem.”
According to a report published by Michael Merchant, Ph.D., professor of entomology at Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center in Dallas, field crickets start appearing as early as Spring. The report says crickets are attracted to dry climates such as the two drought-ridden summers have baked Huntsville. The lack of humidity allows the crickets to safely reproduce with little worry about fungal disease. They are attracted to light and luminescent objects and tend to gravitate towards them.
SHSU students and faculty know where the bugs are and why they’re here - but aren’t quite sure how to get rid of them.
The Residence Life department said when students find any swarm of bugs in their room, they should fill out a “Routine Maintenance Request” form and give a detailed report of the extent of the problem. Maintenance will then send the request to a contracted pest control company that will take care of the bugs.
The department said they have received at least 60 maintenance requests relating to ants and crickets since move-in day. In fact, no building on campus has immunity from the swarm. The Bobby K. Marks administration building has crickets strewn about in the front stairwell. Not even Residence Life in Lone Star Hall could escape the deluge of insects taking over the town.
Residence Life maintenance office officials said time is the best remedy to the bug problem.