What the BUG?!
November 17, 2008 7:13 PM   Subscribe

The cold weather seems to have caused horrible, alien looking bugs to invade our basement. They are fairly slow moving (unless startled) and look like spiders and grasshoppers mated to produce alien children. They are brown in color, have enormous, Daddy-long-legs type legs (but only six of them), and get pretty far off the ground when they jump. Can anyone tell me exactly what is sneaking up on me when I'm working at my desk at night?

I realize that a picture would help, but I freeze up every time I see the suckers (and then my husband throws a shoe at them and we no longer have a good specimen for a photo shoot). I tried a bug identification website, but my freakish office mate was not among any of the 28 results returned. I can't bear to do another search on my own ... I feel like they are crawling all over me when I look through the pictures. So WHAT is this thing?

If it helps, I'm in Virginia (DC area). I've never seen them anywhere outside. Apparently they just live in my basement (but NOT FOR LONG!).
posted by roundrock to Science & Nature (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Camel crickets?
posted by Bezbozhnik at 7:19 PM on November 17, 2008

Best answer: Cave Crickets?
posted by lain at 7:20 PM on November 17, 2008

Jinx. And phooey!
posted by lain at 7:20 PM on November 17, 2008

Best answer: It sounds like you're describing cave crickets, or spider crickets as I call them. They are my arch enemy.

On preview, damn.
posted by Roman Graves at 7:21 PM on November 17, 2008

Response by poster: HEAVEN HELP US - That's it!! AGGGGGGGGGGGGH. I thought I'd feel better knowing what they are, but I'm really even ten times more freaked out now seeing them all up close and personal on my computer screen.

Thanks for the good research, Bezbozhnik. I'll never sleep again without those dang sprickets hopping through my dreams. (from Wikipedia: "Their long legs have caused them to be more commonly referred to as "sprickets" or "spickets", a conjunction between "spiders" (whose legs they resemble) and "crickets". They are also known in some areas as "hopsies" due to their erratic hopping. They have also been referred to as jumpy bugs.")


posted by roundrock at 7:24 PM on November 17, 2008

We call them hoppy bugs. I had never seen them before I moved to Northern Virginia. They are terrifying.
posted by candyland at 7:31 PM on November 17, 2008

They're just crickets, they inhabit basements and laundry rooms throughout the land, and they are harmless. I don't think they're even pestilent. Try to maintain calm in the face of this scourge, if you can muster the strength.
posted by Coatlicue at 7:42 PM on November 17, 2008

They made an annual appearance at our house in Alexandria, showing up when it got cold outside. They are harmless, and stop coming around after a few weeks.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:50 PM on November 17, 2008

SPRICKETS! Dear god, I don't care that they're harmless--I'd rather have mice than those f*ckers. Get rid of all your cardboard, since they eat paper.
posted by zoomorphic at 7:53 PM on November 17, 2008

They're harmless and I actually find them kind of cute. I save my worries for things that actually bite or cause real harm.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:27 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

I hate those things too. Hybrid crickets watch the sea...pray for father roaming free. Crickets are fine, grasshoppers are fine. Praying Mantises, caterpillars, wasps, bees - all fine. These things are GROSS.
posted by cashman at 8:59 PM on November 17, 2008

Huh, so that's what those things are called.

I used to try and catch them with a water glass and then toss them outside or flush them — crush them and they leave a mess.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:24 PM on November 17, 2008

A small shop vac is just the thing for sprickets.
posted by LarryC at 10:16 PM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

OMG!!!!!!! I just started finding these same things in my house and i had no idea what they were!! TY for asking this question.
posted by All.star at 5:09 AM on November 18, 2008

Ooooh, yeah. Spider crickets. Welcome to NoVA!

They are harmess but, yes, they freak me out too. Mr. Arkham has taken to killing them with a fencing foil. Maybe not the most efficient way, but entertaining for all.
posted by JoanArkham at 6:45 AM on November 18, 2008

Camel crickets would not be so bad if they would reliably jump away from you instead of towards you.
posted by onhazier at 6:58 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

You probably already know this, but from what I understand, they jump towards you because you're darker than the surrounding area; to a dark-dwelling creature, you look safe and happy compared to all that light, open space!
We have these, too, and I agree they're kinda creepy; but since they're just crickets, we just sweep 'em (carefully) back down into the cellar.
Except for the time one turned up on my pillow. I don't know where that one ended up, what with all the flailing.
posted by ElaineMc at 7:09 AM on November 18, 2008

I used to run into (dead, slightly waterlogged) specimens of those at the bottom of my parents' swimming pool when I was a kid. *shudder Swimming happily along and all of a sudden this pale pink *thing* bumps up against your diving mask, two inches in front of your face, festooned with wisps of algae and with big, blind white eyes. *twitch Gives me the creeps just thinking about it, and that was 30 years ago... I think most bugs (including spiders) are cool, and go out of my way not to hurt any of them but for some reason, these things are extra-creepy. Maybe it's the eyes. Shortly after I read the story "Sandkings" Sandkings by George R.R. Martin, we had an infestation of these freakish things coming out from under the spare bed in my room, and I was _sure_ they were Sandkings and would kill me in my sleep (I was about 13 at the time... *shudder) So, count yourself lucky that "all" you have are live crickets... ;-/
posted by Death by Ugabooga at 7:50 AM on November 18, 2008

They are quite creepy, but, truly, they're harmless. They cannot bite your or sting you... This does not help me with my irrational fear of cockroaches, but, hey I'll pass it along anyway. We had these crickets in my basement in GA. I was terrified of them.
posted by zpousman at 8:32 AM on November 18, 2008

nthng the harmless but creepy as hell. If your looking for a good way to eliminate them I can recommend a feisty kitten or two. Ever since getting my kitties I have noticed significantly less bugs of all varieties.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 10:18 PM on November 18, 2008

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