Friday, September 14, 2012
About three years ago, I began to hear an unfamiliar cricket here and there around my hometown of Columbus, Ohio. It didn't take too much sleuthing to determine that the singer was a nonnative Orthopteran - the Japanese burrowing cricket. Their deep rich (for a cricket) series of chirps are distinctive, and always given from the ground. This cricket is strictly terrestrial.
In the three or so years since first identifying this species, they've gone fairly haywire. I now hear Japanese burrowing crickets nearly everywhere I go, including places where I know they weren't present just a year or so ago. I think I heard my first one at the office complex where I work last year; now they are everywhere and I might hear a half-dozen or more on a short jaunt between buildings.
Japanese burrowing crickets frequent highly landscaped situations such as mulch beds, mulched trails, areas where ornamental trees have been planted, etc. As long as they stay in such places, they'll probably pose no threat to our native animals, Orthopteran or otherwise. This species is clearly hitchhiking in mulch and soil that is attached to landscape trees and other ornamental plants. It is amazing how rapidly they have been able to colonize new areas; a testament to all of the (bad) landscaping that people do.
Listen for this cricket, which sings day and night. I'll bet you'll hear one sooner than later. CLICK HERE to hear Wil Hershberger's excellent recording of a Japanese burrowing cricket.