JERICHO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Homeowners will tell you, if you haven’t seen a camel cricket before — be prepared to be grossed out. Even professionals get squeamish.

Now, is the time of year the jumping crickets that don’t chirp, invade basements.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan explained, take a walk down into a suburban basement, step into the laundry room, peer into dark crevices, and you may come face-to-face with a frightening creature — a hopping, jumping, leaping ‘camel cricket.’

It’s also known as a ‘cave cricket’ for it’s proclivity to populate dank, damp, dark spaces.

“They jump because of defense mechanisms, so they try to scare us, and it’s working,” Henry Yane, Knockout Pest Control, explained.

Homeowner Margaret Saravia has had enough. She’s spotted the nuisance insects in her Jericho boiler room, laundry room, and bathroom.

“Once you start seeing them in big numbers you will start seeing some fecal matter in those moisture areas,” Yane said.

Initially native to Asia and Australia, the humpbacked looking cricket serves as food for scorpions.

In Japan they are called toilet crickets.

They have limited eyesight, and appear intimidating, but as expert Arther Katz said — are harmless, yet invasive.

“To protect themselves, they’ll find holes, avenues around the outside of the house to come inside over winter, because it’s just too cold out,” Katz said. “They are smart. Smart enough to protect the species.”

Homeowners need to act now, as new eggs are laid in the fall and spring.

Stacks of firewood next to the house can be risky. Crickets also thrive in damp areas near drains, wells, sewers, and downspouts. Homeowners should also get rid of damp leaves under decks, mulch, plants, sandy soil too close to foundations, and rotted wood piles.

“They are very good jumpers, and get away. Home remedies don’t always work,” Katz said.

Experts will treat homes with non-toxic, safe for children and pets, glue boards, traps, and gels.

Once comfortable in a home basement, the crickets have been known to imbed themselves in furniture, clothing, and house plants.


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