The Mormon crickets infestation that took over the town of Elko, Nev., in early June is still hanging around. For Elko resident Colette Reynolds, she has turned the infestation that once kept her up and night into something to laugh about.
On June 13, 2023, Reynolds, who goes by auntie_coolette on TikTok, posted a video of her Nevada home covered in large crickets. The scene was like something out of a horror film.
“Our poor town has been hit by the Mormon crickets. SO BAD THIS YEAR!!!!” Reynolds wrote at the beginning of the video.
There are crickets literally everywhere: up and down the outside walls of her house, all over the porch, and all over the sidewalk.
“It’s just getting worse. Our entire neighborhood is flooded with these things. Our whole town is,” Reynolds stated in the TikTok.
After showing the frightening scene outside her home, Reynold turned the camera on herself to talk about the despair the infestation has caused her, her family, and even her two dogs.
“I just wish they’d go away. I honestly can’t take any more,” she said.
Drought conditions and wet winter may have contributed to the Mormon cricket infestation.
Mormon crickets aren’t actually crickets but more like katydids. They don’t have wings, so they migrate on foot. The insects have a four-to-six-year life cycle, and their last dormant period before 2023 was in 2019. According to the University of Nevada at Reno, drought conditions can encourage Mormon cricket outbreaks.
Jeff Knight, an entomologist with the Nevada Department of Agriculture, believes wet winter conditions in Northern Nevada in 2023 delayed the cricket hatching, so they hatched in June rather than earlier in the spring.
Reynolds considered moving away until the Mormon crickets left.
Regardless of how they got there, they have caused Reynolds many sleepless nights. In her June 13 TikTok video, she said she couldn't go outside for fear of one (or more) of the crickets on the ceiling of her front porch falling on top of her.
“It’s just freaking me out,” she said. “I can’t explain the level of anxiety I’m living in.”
The video shows her two dogs looking out the window at the infested area around the house. She said she even thinks one of her dogs has been having nightmares.
“They migrate through our town every year, but our town has never been hit this hard before. And our home has never been hit like this,” she said. “We woke up to these things on Sunday, and, like I said, every day, it just seems to be getting worse and worse.”
Some of the crickets even managed to get into Reynolds' house. She said she and her husband were actually considering moving out of their Elko home until the crickets were gone.
“We’ve called exterminators, and there’s nothing they can do. If you kill them, they’re carnivorous, and they will come from wherever and devour the dead. So it’s almost like baiting them and attracting more,” she said.
Reynolds is trying to make light of the Mormon cricket infestation.
Fast forward to the beginning of July, there are still a ton of Mormon crickets at Reynolds’s home, but she’s now making light of the situation. In a funny July 2 TikTok video, she held a Mormon cricket "meet and greet."
“Auntie, what do you do when you’re held hostage in your own home by a million Mormon crickets that have swarmed and infested your entire property? You find ways to pass the time,” Reynolds said in the TikTok. “Auntie, how do you do that? Oh, I’ll tell you. You get to know your unwanted guests.”
She then showed close-up videos of the different bugs in her yard, introduced a few of them by name, and told a made-up backstory about each one.
The video ends with her husband using a leaf blower to clear their patio deck of the creepy crawlers. She said he’s unknowingly creating a “cricket buffet” for those cunning and surviving crickets to enjoy.
“That husband of mine has clocked more hours on that leaf blower than I have on my own car that I’ve owned for nine years. He’s my hero and the crickets' worst nightmare,” Reynolds says.