Ugly, Invasive Species Said To Be In Or Around Up To 37 Percent Of N.J. Homes

MAHWAH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Big bugs known as greenhouse camel crickets are invading parts of the Tri-State Area.

The insects, which are native to Asia, likely outnumber humans in the U.S., with experts estimating that more than 700 million of them are in the country, CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock reported Wednesday.

Susan Wagner-McKenna, of Mahwah, recently found camel crickets living under the cover of her hot tub, a discovery that she said made her skin crawl.

“I was completely creeped out,” Wagner-McKenna said.

“I dropped the cover and ran in the other direction.”

Camel crickets, also known as cave crickets, have long, spiky legs. According to a survey by North Carolina State University,  the insect seems to be invading the eastern United States.

Researchers found the invasive species is in and around as many as 25 percent of homes in New York and 37 percent in New Jersey.

Stuart Aust, president and CEO of the pest control company Bug Doctor, said there’s no need to panic.

“They don’t bite,” he said. “They’re just really ugly, creepy looking. I think they’re intimidating.”

And that’s why people want to get rid of them. But scientists say homeowners may want to reconsider. The crickets are scavengers that will eat dead things that accumulate in basements or garages.

They’re known to be cannibalistic, too. In some cases, they’ll eat their own legs to survive.

Despite the abundance of the crickets, little is otherwise known about their habits. It is thought that they breed year-round and only in the dark.

The bugs are more abundant during warm weather, and summer means more indoor sightings, as they seek cool, damp spaces to live — such as basements or crawl spaces.

Experts can kill the crickets with chemicals. They suggest that homeowners seal small holes at their homes and remove old lumber, which can be a breeding ground for the insects.

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