If bugs make you squeamish, be thankful you don't live in Oklahoma.
Swarms of crickets have invaded the Sooner State recently, prompting grossed out Oklahomans to share photos of the harmless, chirping insects.
Oklahoma State University entomologists say a combination of heat and drought this summer has fueled the cricket invasion, reported NewsOn6. Yet there actually fewer crickets than last year.
“These outbreaks seem to occur after periods of prolonged dry weather in spring and early summer followed by rainfall in July and August,” said OSU's Rick Grantham in a university press release. “Extensive soil cracking may be an important factor.”
One exterminator told KRMG, "This time of year is their mating season." The invasion, which began in late August, may last as long as eight weeks.
Another expert told KTUL that the insects will feed on each others' carcasses, so residents should avoid stomping on them.
One upside to the invasion? Male crickets' chirps can serve as a crude thermometer. According to KOCO meteorologist Brad Sowder, the number of chirps a single cricket makes in 14 seconds, plus 40, is "very close to the actual air temperature."
— Crystal Kemper (@mamabugster) September 4, 2013