Are There Fewer Crickets This Year?

Are There Fewer Crickets This Year?

Several people have commented that there are fewer crickets this year. If there are fewer, is there a scientific reason?
More than a few people have commented that they are hearing fewer crickets this year. Now it is still early in the season, but there can be some reasons to why we are hearing them less. First of all, a little background information. Crickets are quite common in the state, living in fields and lawns, forest edges, mature forests, caves, damp basements, around plumbing, and even in outhouses. They make their chirping noise by moving their wings over teeth-like structures on their body. Females make a two note song while males generate three notes. For more detailed background information about crickets, go to this webpage from Penn State.

There is a distinct link between temperature and the chirps of crickets. Often an estimate of temperature can be made by counting the number of chirps from the male field cricket in 13 seconds and then adding 40. June into July has been quite muggy which means the nights actually have been warmer which would mean more chirps. So what is going on? It is still too early to really know if there is a true change in the population of the state, but if there are, there some possible reasons. In Hawaii, some crickets have adapted over the past 20 generations to a more silent form to avoid attracting parasitic flies. We can not translate this to Pennsylvania as of yet, but you can find more information here.

Also the Journal of Experimental Biology has published a study that a cooler spring can lead to a reduction in the number of eggs laid during the spring. Given that last year was very chilly and this year was also a little cooler than average, this could be a factor in the state's population. You can read about the study here


Are you still noticing crickets? Be sure to join the Eyes on Central PA Mission on Project Noah to share your photo observations of crickets or other wild insects. Your photo may be featured on this blog or in Chief Meteorologist Joe Murgo’s next on-air broadcast!

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