Asian camel crickets are now so common in the US, they may even be beating out their native cousins. Hundreds or thousands of the striped creatures may very well be sharing your house, a study from North Carolina State finds; indeed, 90% of scientists responding to a census found them in their homes, in places such as basements, crawl spaces, and garages, reports Weather.com. Most of the reports came from east of the Mississippi. "One recalls thinking she heard "popcorn popping. Yet it wasn’t popcorn, just tens (maybe hundreds?) of camel crickets furtively jumping in the wake of my footsteps," study co-author Holly Menninger writes at YourWildLife.org.
Fortunately, they pose no direct threat to us—and it's even possible they're helpful. "Because they are scavengers, camel crickets may actually provide an important service in our basements or garages, eating the dead stuff that accumulates there," Menninger notes. Diestrammena asynamora crickets have been around in the US since at least the 1800s, InfoZine reports. Experts long believed, however, that they lived only in greenhouses. In fact, "it’s possible that the greenhouse camel cricket could be driving out native camel cricket species in homes," says another study leader. (A different invasive species making headlines: "crazy worms.")