A new challenge after 40 years

The locust is the larger cousin of the grasshopper
The locust is the larger cousin of the grasshopper

Over the years I have been called to several cases of crickets indoors, writes George Hogg (Hogg Estate Servicecs).

Crickets are commonly sold in pet shops for use as reptile food.

When they infest a house or even a block of flats, a bit of enquiry usually reveals there is a reptile keeper somewhere nearby.

Away back in the 1970s when hospitals were often still housed in old Victorian buildings with mazes of steam pipes carrying heat around the basements, crickets were often to be found down in that dark and tropical atmosphere.

Like grasshoppers, crickets “sing” by rubbing a comb on their back legs. At night, the chorus of crickets can be heard in such places as cellars and steam ducts.

Despite all of this, my photograph this week does not depict a cricket. For the first time, a recent call-out revealed a cluster of their much larger cousins, the locust.

As you can see these are colourful, strange and alien-looking species, but also owe their their origins to the reptile trade.

This call was outdoors in November and the insects had obviously been dumped and were clustered in a corner. I now have them in a tank at home and look forward to watching their development into full adults.

Of course being a wildlife traveller, I am quite familiar with several species of grasshopper, cricket and locust worldwide, but have never before bred them at home.

It just goes to show after 40 years in wildlife management there is always something new and strange around the corner!