If you are looking for information about the Jerusalem cricket or Jerusalem beetle, you have come to the right page as I am going to share with you the basic information that you need to know about this creature. So, without further ado, let’s dig in.
Who is the Jerusalem cricket/Jerusalem beetle?
Jerusalem crickets, Jerusalem beetles, or potato bugs are flightless insects in the Stenopelmatinae sub-family.
The Jerusalem Cricket can grow to be one to fourteen inches long. The middle of the dress is striped in black. Among the various species of Stenopelmatus are Jerusalem crickets. These creatures have massive heads. Their strong jaws have the potential to deliver a deadly bite. Despite their frightening look, Jerusalem crickets are entirely non-lethal. These crickets are a problem for plants because they eat the roots and capture insects. It provides food for a variety of birds and animals, including barn owls and tiny hawks, as well as rats and scorpions.
The Jerusalem Cricket has a large head compared to other crickets. The jaws of Jerusalem’s “humanoid” commander have been reinforced to aid with excavation. When the Jerusalem Cricket gets hungry, it may use its strong jaws and mandibles to dig out roots and tubules.
If given the opportunity, Jerusalem will devour a broad variety of insects. Their bodies are covered with orange and black stripes, with brown patches on the head and bottom. Although Jerusalem does not have venom, if a predator distracts them, they will administer a severe bite.
It’s uncommon to see a Jerusalem Cricket, but once you do, you won’t forget it. Crickets, despite their well-known name, are actually two different species, one found both inside and outside the body. Jerusalem has the appearance of a crow with a humanoid skull for a brain. That’s what this cricket is. Despite its frightening appearance, the black and tan clustered creepy crawly is quite harmless and will only feed if provoked.
Despite the fact that many people believe it is beneficial in its current state, the Jerusalem Cricket remains a mystery to entomologists. According to the Nevada Division of Agriculture, the Jerusalem Cricket is neither a nuisance nor a helpful creepy-crawly.
The life cycle of a Jerusalem cricket (egg, nymph, and adult)
These creatures have three stages of the life cycle: egg, nymph, and adult.
To locate their mate, the adults would hit their abdomen on the ground. This particular behavior is called “drumming” by scientists.
These drumming activities will create strong vibrations which travel long distances. The other side will easily hear the vibrations so that these adult pairs can locate each other.
It is not hard to notice the existence of Jerusalem beetles since they can grow up to 2 inches long. Not to mention that their orange and black band bodies are easily noticeable. The disproportional human-like head can be noticed at a glance.
It hatches from an egg to start its life.
Drumming is a unique vibrational communication between the Jerusalem crickets’ adults. It is so unique since the beetles will hit their abdomens on the ground. They usually do it to give sound cues to opposite genders for mating. So, we can say that the drumming session will begin the mating process. In most cases, it is one of the few events where Jerusalem crickets are exponentially exposed above the ground. In their routine, they tend to spend their time being active below the soil.
Unlike the other creatures, the mating of these crickets is fatal. The females will tear the sac of white sperm from their significant others. Then it will be placed on her body to procure the fertilization.
Weeks later, the eggs will be formed.
In many mating sessions, it can be a life-threatening situation for the males, since the females often have the desire to eat males that are off guard. But some males might still have the strength and agility to avoid the death sentence.
Egg laying and nesting
The mothers will lay their eggs in a huge nest located below the soil. The measurement is usually between six to ten inches. The size of the eggs, on average, is 1/8 inch long. They are oval and white-colored.
The nest is built by her natural white substance, which is pretty much similar to a bird’s nest. But since the nest is placed under the ground, it can be hard to notice it from the ground. The egg-laying usually happens during the fall. In the winter, the eggs will be there without their mothers’ protection. But let’s not forget that the females have already made a strong nest for their eggs.
The eggs will hatch in the spring regardless of the length differences in the winter nest.
Up until today, no one could confirm precisely how long the eggs actually sat in the winter season.
It is because these crickets are not being held captive for observation or breeding purposes. That pretty much makes sense since no one can also confirm unless they are really observing the eggs all the time.
What is known is that, once they hatch, the juveniles are immediately able to walk, run and jump. They begin eating other insects living in the soil as well as plant roots and decaying vegetation. The juveniles experience nine to 12 molts before becoming mature adults by fall.
After hatching, the juveniles will be active and strong. They are able to explore their environment. In their nature, they don’t need their mom’s companions in order to hunt for food and other basic survival items. They will grab their diets from the soil where there are many insects. They also love to eat roots and decaying veggies.
Just like other insects, the lifespans of potato bugs tend to be short. As recorded, they can only live for two to six months. For them, it has been long enough to mate and make a legacy.
They are basically peaceful species. They are indifferent towards larger creatures and humans. They won’t run from you simply because you approached them. Your pets can also approach them. But they will bite if they are tormented. If they are considering a life-threatening situation, they won’t hesitate to use their strong jaws to bite whoever who disturbs them. Be careful since they have strong jaws. It can be painful for you if they bite you.
They are not grouped, so it is rare that they pose a huge pest threat to your property. Even though you’ve considered them as pests, it won’t be difficult to control them. Some bug lovers even hold them.
Jerusalem cricket bite
Yes, they do bite. But they are not necessarily aggressive creatures. They will, but when they are threatened, provoked, or tormented. They are indifferent when there’s a peaceful presence. But in most cases, it is best to leave them alone.
Keep in mind that they have such strong jaws which allow them to bite strongly. Their bites can be painful for you. If you are tagging along with your pets in the park, be vigilant and aware of the existence of Jerusalem crickets. Pets like dogs are curious. They will play around with potato bugs. When your pets get bitten, the effects will be more severe. But their bites are not toxic or stingy.
Potato bugs have more robust and sturdier teeth than other crickets. So, when one encounters these crickets, it is much better to leave them alone rather than risk getting nice bites. Although they look intimidating, they are not actually dangerous.
Jerusalem cricket distribution (in the USA)
An old Native American legend, the Jerusalem Cricket was known as the “Old Bald-Headed Man” or “Red Skull.” These insects are now found throughout Mexico and along the US west coast, where they are called ‘Potato Bugs’ despite their affinity for other roots.
They are mostly found in the west, along the Pacific drift, which reaches east into Montana and south to New Mexico in the summer. California has around 40 species. They enter homes and other buildings by burrowing into loose soil behind rocks or garbage heaps. Jerusalem cricket infestations may be more common on slopes, valleys, and mountains.
The dirt child is known in Spanish as el nio de la tierra. They are also known as “the elderly bald person” and “the potato bug.” Because they can’t fly, these insects must hop. Cockroaches do not chirp like house or field crickets. These insects’ sounds have been replicated by scratching and hissing.
Jerusalem beetles are not so common in many countries. For many people, they might find a new species since the human-like head is something unique and rarely found in most countries in the world. But it is indeed common in the western US and Mexico.
How do they come to your territory?
In most cases, Jerusalem crickets are not invited as guests in your home or office. They usually come inside your home when they are looking for insects to feed on or shelter to live in.
If you have a fruitful garden, this could attract them. They could get through your open doors, holes, gaps, windows, or other open entrance.
Are they dangerous for you and your family?
Yes and no. In small numbers, the potato bugs won’t pose a serious threat to you and your family. But you might be concerned if they come in larger numbers. Although they are not life-threatening, the large number of them can be annoying for all the occupants of the house. The risks will escalate if you have your pets at home. Active pets like dogs and cats won’t be still when they see the arrival of these crickets. They’d consider them enemies who enter your territory.
And when your dogs handle these crickets alone, that can be pretty messed up. When these crickets are cornered or tormented, they will bite. These can be impactful and painful for your pets. So, you will need appropriate pest control to prevent something worse from happening.
They tend to live in gardens or flowerbeds. They are not usually active during the day. Instead, they will hide under the soil, rocks, or logs.
When the dark comes, they will come out from their hiding and be active at night. They move to human houses in the dry seasons when the weather is extremely hot.
They eat crops, smaller insects, roots, and decaying plants and vegetables. Their largest pools of the population are in the western parts of the US and some parts of Mexico.
They mostly can’t live with humans because of their intimidating appearance. But there’s also another strong reason. They have an awful odor. That’s why having them as pets have never been the right decision unless you are really passionate about these crickets.
How to handle these crickets’ bites?
If by any chance you or someone you care about gets bitten by the Jerusalem crickets, you don’t need to worry since these bites are not life-threatening. However, you will notice some symptoms like symptoms, redness, itchiness, rashes, and so on.
The key to handling it is to quickly apply holistic treatment to prevent the symptoms from worsening. The very first thing to do to respond to the bites is to sanitize the affected area.
Use alcohol or healthy sanitizer to effectively clean germs and bacteria. Then you could use lukewarm water and medicated soap to wash your hand. Apply antibacterial gel to heal the skin symptoms.
In severe cases, the rash might be still for a few hours. If you don’t see any significant healing, you could contact your specialists.
Is it a serious pest problem?
In most cases, you won’t see it as a pest problem, especially when a small group of crickets comes to your home. The real reason that they trespass on your property is food or shelter. They are not a group of creatures. You will usually see them in small numbers. But they can be big in groups if your house is the only shelter that they can find in a particular area.