details of jerusalem crickets

The Fascinating World of Jerusalem Crickets: A Guide to Coexist with These Misunderstood Insects

Jerusalem crickets, also known as potato bugs or Ammopelmatus sp, are fascinating creatures that are often misunderstood and feared. Found in the western United States, these insects are known for their large size (up to 2 inches long) and unusual appearance. They have long antennae, spiny legs, and round, segmented bodies.

jerusalem crickets from the top
Photo: Krystal Zuniga

Despite their intimidating appearance, Jerusalem crickets are not aggressive and do not bite or sting. In fact, they are harmless to humans and are actually beneficial to gardens and ecosystems. They feed on decomposing organic matter and help to break down and recycle nutrients back into the soil. Also, Jerusalem crickets have a reputation for being pests due to their occasional presence in homes and gardens.

They are attracted to light and may enter structures in search of food or shelter. However, they do not cause any damage and can easily be removed and relocated to a more suitable habitat. One of the most interesting things about Jerusalem crickets is their unique vocalizations. They are capable of making chirping or buzzing sounds by rubbing their abdomen against the ground. These sounds are thought to be a form of communication, possibly to attract mates or deter predators.

Can Jerusalem crickets jumps or fly?

They are not able to jump or fly, but they can crawl quickly and sometimes be seen moving around in an upright position, they have evolved small spines on their legs that allow them to move better on the ground. Also, their strong legs can crawl up vertical surfaces.

Why are Jerusalem Cricket called earth babies?

This name comes from some parts of the United States because they are often found in the soil and have a somewhat human-like appearance, with their large heads and round bodies. As well, they are sometimes mistaken for small human babies or dolls, due to their size.

jerusalem crickets details
Photo: Krystal Zuniga

Where can Jerusalem cricket live?

This insects are native to western North America and can be found in different habitats, like gardens, fields, and the edges of forests. They are generally found in dry, sandy soil areas and are often attracted to light at night. For this blog, we found this amazing creature in our exchange program in Great Basin National Park in Nevada, Las Vegas.

If you find a Jerusalem cricket in your home, you can simply remove it and release it outside. Also, if you find them in the forest, do not kill these insects, they do not pose a threat to humans or cause any significant damage to plants or crops. If they feel threatened or handled, they produce a strong unpleasant odor.

jerusalem crickets on top of rocks in great basin national park
Photo: Krystal Zuniga

In conclusion, Jerusalem crickets may be intimidating due to their size and appearance, but they are actually harmless and beneficial insects. If you come across one in your home or garden, there is no need to be alarmed. Simply remove it and release it back into its natural habitat.

Author: Krystal Zuniga
Feature photo: Krystal Zuniga
Date: September 14th, 2022

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