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Despite This We Stay for April 12, 2012

by Carol Dunn
HUERFANO — I’ve only seen one of these things since I’ve been in Colorado, but once is enough. This is a creepy, science fiction creature which is found in Mexico, Utah, California and southern Colorado. Let’s hope they don’t decide they like Huerfano County.
First of all, the Jerusalem Cricket has a head that is way too big for its body. Almost as disproportional as that guy in the TV commercials, Jack-in-the-Box. I don’t need to see a bug up close if it has nicknames like “skull head” and “old bald-headed man.” The head is big because the jaws are big. And the jaws are big so they can bite you when you pick one up. Bugwood Wiki says the bite will draw blood, but that they are not venomous. Let me tell you, they don’t have to be venomous. If one of these ugly things bites me, I’m gonna drop over dead from a heart attack.
Another strike against Jerusalem Crickets are their spiny legs. I’ve been known to pet a snake, because snakes are smooth and cool. Don’t ever allow a spiny- legged bug to crawl on me. I MEAN IT. We had Japanese Beetles where I grew up, and I couldn’t stand to have one crawl on me. (As you can tell, I was permanently traumatized by this.) I can’t stand the spinyness. It’s like they have Velcro on their icky little feet and they ain’t letting go. You try to grab them to pick them off, and they’re going “eeeh eeeh” and grabbing on tighter.
The striped abdomen of a Jerusalem Cricket has the same effect on me as seeing a prison uniform. It says, “Please stand back!” You don’t mess with prisoners, and you don’t mess with Jerusalem Crickets. Besides, they have little horns on their butts (the crickets). They can attack you with either end.
When it comes to diet, these things aren’t choosy. They’ll come screaming up to a McCricket’s and order an Ant value meal with roots, a dead plant shake and a rotted mouse pie for dessert. What’s to stop them from conquering the human race someday?
Since we have a major east-west highway and a north-south interstate running through Huerfano, most people realize that this is a dropping ground for many bugs, weed seeds and other stuff that doesn’t belong here. I’m hoping those Jerusalem Crickets stay west of Wolf Creek Pass and south of Trinidad and don’t even use this place for a rest stop.