AUSTIN, Texas - Crickets, the musically-inclined insects, are lurking and piling up in all corners of Central Texas right now.
First Watch, a restaurant on Lakeline Mall Drive, was closed Tuesday morning. The sign on the door read "Due to the crickets. :( "
"Much of the year they are small and inconspicuous and they're just little eating machines in cracks in the ground, under logs and stones," said Alex Wild, Curator of Entomology in the Biodiversity Center at UT.
This time of year, though, they've matured.
"Many of them have matured into big adult crickets and they are going out and mating and looking for new places to lay eggs and so now we see them," he said.
But why so many crickets?
"This year we had a lot of rain in the spring and early summer, and that meant a lot of vegetation and a lot of cricket food and so now we're seeing the results of that...crickets everywhere," he said.
Another burning question: why the sudden influx? Wild says that's a good question.
"It might be the cool weather was enough for them to think this is a better time for me to come out," Wild said.
He says there's really no cause for alarm here.
"They're just out doing their crickety things, they're looking for mates, they're looking for places to lay eggs. They don't bite, they don't sting," Wild said.
They won't deteriorate Austin's infrastructure.
"It's not like MoPac is going to collapse into this seething pile of crickets," he said.
Wild says the crickets everyone's seeing are senior citizens. So alas some degree of unpleasantness is on its way.
"Once they mate and lay eggs, they just die, they're done. And so the bodies pile up and kind of stink, that's the thing I worry about," he said.
The silver lining is at least this isn't a cockroach invasion.