Jul 29 2012
I don’t know about your neighborhood but where I live we had very little insect song during the hottest, driest parts of June and July. I was starting to get worried. I missed the happy sound of field crickets.
This has been a confusing year for insects. Many of them emerged in March when temperatures were 20o-30o above normal. I heard a couple of field crickets that month.
I also heard a few begin to sing on a normal schedule in early summer but they soon fell silent. June and July were very hot, very dry, and a little spooky without insect sounds. I wondered if the crickets were alive.
Probably not. Field crickets (Gryllus pennsylvanicus) eat mostly plants including crabgrass, English plantain, switchgrass, common ragweed and chicory. The plants were suffering. So were the crickets.
Ten days ago it began to rain in Pittsburgh. Thanks to almost daily thunderstorms our 2012 rainfall deficit turned into a 1/2″ surplus yesterday.
We have chicory. We have mud! And though there aren’t as many as usual, I now hear the happy sound of field crickets.
(photo of an adult male field cricket by Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org)