Swarms of crickets are blanketing surburbs of Melbourne, with social media videos showing thousands of theem invading streets.
Large numbers of crickets were seen on Monday evening and Tuesday, including in Heidelberg, Thornbury, North Melbourne and Fitzroy.
The high numbers can be traced back to conditions last winter, Musuems Victoria Research Institute senior curator Dr Ken Walker told news.com.au.
“It goes back to our last winter,” Dr Walker said.
“If we have a very dry winter then things survive very nicely.
“Our winter was very mild, we didn’t get freezing conditions that kill a lot of insects.
“It was so mild that rather then waiting till spring to mate they were actually able to reproduce at winter because they were able to start early so we have this explosion of crickets.”
Dr Scarlett Howard from Monash University’s faculty of science told news.com.au the explosion of numbers was also related to current conditions.
“We have had more rainy and wet summer this year throughout December and January and you combine them with warm weather and humidity that is what makes the ideal conditions for them to come out,” she said.
Dr Howard said crickets are not dangerous and advised people to be “be kind to them”.
“Keep your fly screens shut and they should stay out,” she said.
But residents have taken to social media to vent their fury.
One Reddit stream is filled with complaints about the critters.
“It’s really odd, they are everywhere all over Melbourne. It’s like a plague,” one person complained.
“They’re all throughout Melbourne airport. Like indoors,” a second wrote.
One person thought it was some sort of “mass escape from a scientific experiment”.
“Opened up my shop at 5.30am after the suppliers had delivered overnight and the floor was covered in dead crickets that must have come in with the deliveries,” a fourth wrote.
“Had to spend the first hour cleaning. Magpies were having a blast feasting on them this morning.”
Originally published as Melbourne hit by ‘cricket plague’ due to unusually warm, dry weather