They fly around the courtyards, near bus stops, through classrooms and in dorms. With Austin’s hot, dry summer cooling into a brisk fall, these six-legged creatures lurk around every corner. The increasing number of crickets on campus has been unsettling students and faculty throughout UT.
“Normally, I just see them outside, hopping around on the sidewalks,” physics freshman Zel Hurewitz said. “But last week, there were crickets in the sink of the communal bathroom in Brackenridge two nights in a row. The building is really old. I guess some just found their way into the building through the cracks.”
Crickets can been seen by the dozens in outdoor areas across campus. As the cricket population seems to increase, many students and faculty have begged the question: What can possibly be done about these pests?
According to John Burns, landscape manager for UT, the University deals with pests on a case-by-case basis.
“We mostly deal with ants, rats and roaches, but not so much crickets,” Burns said. “Students and faculty can bring concerns to the call center, and from there we go to the individual sites on campus and set out low-toxic bait for the pests. Large infestations aren’t usually a problem.”
Realistically, there is not much University pest control can do in the way of cricket extermination, according to Burns.
“We do have a product that can kill crickets, but in the end, it would probably create more problems than it solves,” Burns said. “Unfortunately, crickets are attracted to dead crickets. So if we tried to exterminate them using bug bait, it would actually increase the cricket population on campus. It’s a vicious cycle.”
Journalism freshman Sarah Bloodworth said she thinks the cricket infestation is not a major issue on campus.
“I don’t think crickets are a major problem to address,” Bloodworth said. “They are just bugs being bugs. I haven’t heard of death by cricket before.”
The only solution to the pests is to try and ignore them, according to Burns.
“I know it’s gross, and I don’t want crickets landing on me,” Burns said. “Unfortunately, though, the only solution is to wait it out. The crickets have been far worse in previous years, and luckily, this kind of infestation is usually short lived.”