Health officials in Guayaquil and surrounding towns are advising residents to keep their doors and windows shut to ward off an unprecedented invasion of crickets.
“It is common that we see large numbers of crickets this time of year but this is much worse than normal due to the high levels of rain and humidity and hot temperatures,” the city of Samborondón said on its Twitter account Wednesday.
Television and social media photos and videos show houses, shopping malls, parks and parking lots covered with crickets. “You can’t go anywhere because of them,” one WhatsApp group poster wrote. “Every place is covered with them and you can’t walk anywhere without hearing the disgusting crunch under you feet,” she wrote. “Then, when you get in your car or house you have all this goo to clean off your shoes. When will it stop? I can’t take it anymore!”
In addition to the human inconvenience, the crickets are causing damage to trees and plants and health officials in Guayas Province say they will begin a selective spraying program on Thursday. “This will not solve the general problem but can provide relief in small areas,” a spokesman for the provincial health office said. “The crickets have a very short life span, usually about 15 days, so we hope this will be over soon.” He added: “The downside is that female crickets hatch 200 eggs at a time.”