Jumpy bugs. Hippity Hops. Cave crickets.
That's just some of the names local residents have given to these critters that have invaded their homes, particularly their basements. Their actual name is Rhaphidophoridae, but they are commonly called camel crickets because of their "humpbacked appearance," according to North Carolina University's Department of Entomology Web site.
Unlike field crickets, these strange-looking creatures have no wings and they do not chirp, but they can jump very high, which they usually do when they are startled. For instance, when they detect, using their antennae, that someone is approaching or if you throw a shoe at them.
"I hate them! I threw a shoe at one last week ... he threw it back," Patch reader Meredith Gilmore Lamoreaux jokingly wrote on our Facebook page Wednesday when we asked fans if they have these critters in their homes.
More than 50 readers wrote back, sharing their disdain for and encounters with camel crickets. But some even had success stories for how they were able to rid themselves of these ugly bugs.
"Haven't been able to get rid of them, but have been able to keep them confined," wrote Rosalie Norton, who says she uses glue pads, a strategy that other readers recommended as well. Gerri Capra-Insinga also uses the glue traps, but warns that they can be "gross" to handle when it's time to dispose of them.
Five years ago, Ozzie Huertas called in a professional exterminator, Orkins, which used round pellet pesticides in addition to the sticky pads. "We had them by the tons," he said, but explained that six months after the exterminator's visit they were gone and he hasn't seen a single camel cricket since.
Others like Tara Festa saw a difference after taking the time to seal every crack in their basement with cement caulk.
"The best thing to do is caulk around cracks, crevices and holes," Howard Ryder, of All Ways Exterminating Co. in Lynbrook, told Patch. Ryder explained that since camel crickets have "no real body structure" they are able to contort themselves to squeeze into even the smallest cracks to get inside your home.
"They love dampness and moisture," says Ryder. Outdoors these crickets hide in cluttered garages, near leaky gutters, underneath decks and in piles of leaves. But when the temperature drops, they seek shelter indoors, mainly in dark basements and crawl spaces. Clearing away leaves under your deck or around your home, cleaning out your garage, ventilating crawl spaces, cutting back bushes, fixing leaky gutters and making sure your sprinkler is not hitting your house can deter camel crickets from nesting nearby, and ultimately invading, your home, he explains.
If you can't afford an exterminator, Ryder suggests putting down glue boards, which can be purchased at most home improvement stores, and place them around the basement walls and inside crawl spaces. An exterminator will most likely put these down too, but they'll also apply a granular bait such as InTice and a residual chemical inside every crack, crevice and crawlspace both inside and outside the home. Ryder says the one that his company uses is safe to use around pets and kids, although he won't apply it if any of the home's residents are pregnant or under the age of 1.
Some residents like Stephen Andreala have found that their family pets are helpful at hunting down the crickets. "My cat and dog are happy to kill 'em," he said. "The cat takes off one or two legs at a time and leaves a lot of pieces to look for and pick up."
Don't have a pet? Well, Glenn Adycki does the hunting himself.
"I've been making it a habit to 'hunt' for them after work in the basement," he says. "So far, I've taken care of three. But I think there's two more left. I will not rest until they've met the fury of my size nines!"
Do you have these critters in your home? Tell us about it and what's worked (or not worked) for you? To see what else readers had to say about camel crickets click here .