YouTube

Texas puts up with these insect invasions every year, but this year's stinky horde is particularly virulent.

Texans are no strangers to cricket swarms. Rising from the ground in buzzing, leaping masses, the prickly hordes routinely invade the state's urban centers during late-summer months. In 2007, for instance, the insects were so numerous that the University of Texas broke a 70-year tradition and turned off its tower light, hoping that the critters would lose enthusiasm in the darkness and hop away home.

But thanks to a mild winter this year that allowed the crickets to appear as early as April, the horde has gotten a considerable head start on building up its bloated size. The insectoid press is so strong now that it's actually harming businesses. The problem is that when the bugs die, rainstorms wet their carcasses and begin a process of moist decay that smells like death. The Waco Trib reports that shopkeepers are cleaning carpets, running air-scrubbing machines and setting out scented bouquets, mostly to no avail.

Mellinda Whitten, a manager at a bug-besieged Waco CVS, explained the stinky situation to the Trib:

The staff does its best to sweep up the crickets, dispose of them and clean the affected areas, Whitten said. But every time it rains, the problem starts again. 

During the worst periods, the smell has been strong enough to repel customers, Whitten said. 

“We know it affected business,” Whitten said. “Some people turned around and walked out. But you can’t help that.”

Somebody should tell the good folks of Waco that they're sweeping away a valuable source of protein. When an energy bar made from cricket flour exceeds its funding goal on Kickstarter, after all, you know the commodities market is changing.

Here's what the crickets looked like last month in Wichita Falls:

And these are... pardon me while I gag... urinals piled high with crickets during that terrible year of 2007:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    Who’s Really Buying Property in San Francisco?

    A lot of software developers, according to an unprecedented new analysis.

  2. A new map of neighborhood change in U.S. metros shows where displacement is the main problem, and where economic decline persists.
    Equity

    From Gentrification to Decline: How Neighborhoods Really Change

    A new report and accompanying map finds extreme gentrification in a few cities, but the dominant trend—particularly in the suburbs—is the concentration of low-income population.

  3. Tech workers sit around a table on their laptops in San Francisco, California
    Life

    America’s Tech Hubs Still Dominate, But Some Smaller Cities Are Rising

    Despite established urban tech hubs, some smaller cities are attracting high-tech jobs with lower living costs, unique talent pools, and geographic diversity.

  4. Equity

    The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed

    Manhattan’s new luxury mega-project was partially bankrolled by an investor visa program called EB-5, which was meant to help poverty-stricken areas.

  5. a photo of a man surveying a home garage.
    Transportation

    How Single-Family Garages Can Ease California's Housing Crisis

    Given the affordable housing crisis, California cities should encourage single-family homeowners to convert garages into apartments and accessory dwelling units.