As if coming to life from a scene in a science-fiction film, swarms of black clouds are swooping down on Oklahoma.
Clouds of crickets, that is.
The state's cricket population is so high this year it reminds Oklahoma State University entomologist Rick Grantham of the 2007 outbreak.
Grantham was in Okarche recently when he happened on thousands of them. Crickets were stacked outside the Eischen's Bar and restaurant.
“It was so warm and dry in the winter and then a warm, wet spring. So nothing (insects) died,” Grantham said. “When you have as warm of temperatures as we did this winter and the soil did not freeze, we have an inordinate amount of insects.”
In 2007, crickets were crowded along sidewalks and even were found 3 feet deep in Boone Pickens Stadium. Crickets would get in the lights and on the field.
“It is going to be that way this year. Wait until Friday nights,” Grantham said. “Those lights at stadiums are going to be attracting crickets.”
Chirping crickets can be a nuisance indoors, but they don't pose a health threat. They are attracted to light and are highly active at night.
Grantham said he was walking his dog in Stillwater recently and saw a black cloud in front of a church parking lot light.
“There were thousands of them,” he said.
But their numbers will fade with summer.
The first frost in the fall should thin out the population, Grantham said.