The Scourge of Long Island: The Cave Cricket


Full disclosure—I am “bug-a-phobic.” I detest all bugs and have no tolerance for them. I am a “shoot first and ask questions later” type of person when it comes to bugs. “See them, squash them,” that’s my credo.

One of the reasons why I don’t think I could ever live in Florida or the Carolinas is that I’ve seen the Palmetto bug up close and personal and it’s not a pretty sight. There isn’t much you can do when giant cockroaches come up out of your shower drain, is there? I’ve thought about Arizona, but they have scorpions hiding in your boots. No thank you to living someplace where bugs can kill you.

As a kid, I was once traumatized by a Praying Mantis in the ultra-back of my father’s station wagon while visiting relatives in Howard Beach. To this day, I can still see its silhouette in the dark as it sat on my knee. Oh, the horror! And don’t get me started on Brooklyn roaches.

Another Summer staple in these parts is the buzzing cicada, which terrifies me to the point of running away like a 10-year-old girl. But we have a mutual respect for each other—I leave them alone and they don’t land on my head.

However, there is a new scourge of bug here on Long Island that is wreaking havoc and chaos—the cave cricket. Some call them “camel” or “spider” crickets, but you can call them what you want. These things are the spawn of the devil.

I first heard about them from friends living in Bellmore. They must be migrating east because they began appearing here in Massapequa a few years ago, infiltrating my shed and then my basement. Quite frankly, I am frightened of them. They are huge, prehistoric looking things with long legs and tentacles. I would recommend you google them, but I don’t want to be responsible for your future nightmares. They do have a mouth and can gnaw at just about anything, including clothing, plants and other insects.

They don’t have sharp, pointy teeth like the killer rabbit in Monty Python and The Holy Grail, so they really can’t harm you in any physical way. However, when you open your shed to get something, there is no way to prepare for a bunch of giant crickets leaping at you from different directions. These crickets have such powerful hind legs; they can vault over your head. Jumping is their only defense mechanism and it’s used to scare off predators. Mission accomplished.

Imagine watching a bad horror movie in 3D as things come at you from all directions. The only recourse you have is to cover your face and scream. Not only do cave crickets jump, they jump sideways. They are lightning fast and begin springing at you immediately when they sense your presence, not waiting for you to gather your courage and secure a weapon, like a broom.

There seems to be only two recourses for controlling these creatures—glue traps and bug bombs. The problem with glue traps is that once these monsters get stuck on them, they will gnaw their own legs off to escape. Do you see the type of terror we are dealing with? And if they don’t escape, other cave crickets will attempt to cannibalize their body for food. Am I painting a clear enough picture here? Just the thought of picking up a glue trap covered with these creatures gives me the willies.

Unfortunately, the only choice seems to be the nuclear option, the bug bomb. I could tolerate them in my shed, although now I wear hockey goalie equipment when I go to get a rake, but not in my house. That is my fortress of solitude and I will not put up with jumping intruders lurking in my laundry room.

I have secured the necessary weapons of mass destruction and confirmed the nuclear codes. Soon my basement will be engulfed in a fog of chemicals designed to eradicate the enemy with minimal property damage. Tomorrow, I will bravely survey ground zero and perform a visual inspection to ensure the threat has been neutralized.

Of course, I’ll have to use a remote drone camera, since there is no way I am ever going downstairs into my laundry room again.


  1. Although i do not share your fear of insects, i can fully understand why these creepy crawlies send you packing. I live in a basement apartment where these vile creatures live. They seem to come out at night. Occasionally i will catch one crawling across my floor while im in bed and i must rid of it before i can go to sleep. No matter how many i kill it seems i cannot fully irradicate them! I think i will secure my own nuclear weapons and bomb these critters this fall. Great article.

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