Should Cricket Paralysis Virus be a Concern for Humans?

Crickets are known to arrive in swarms particularly in the western regions of the U.S. One of the logical explanations offered as cause of cricket swarming is loss of natural habitat. Although the danger presented is mainly the destruction of field crops, some are wary of the insect’s potential to spread a disease known as Cricket Paralysis Virus.

Yes, such virus exists, but unless you are in the business of commercially breeding crickets, it is no cause for alarm.

Do crickets bite and make possible the transmission of the Cricket Paralysis Virus? Ordinary household crickets are not likely to bite when it comes in contact with human skin. They do bite, but only when held tightly inside in one’s fist. Yet common species of crickets are fangless, which means their bite cannot puncture the skin.

Besides, as far as the harmful effects of Cricket Paralysis Virus is concerned, scientists have established that the microbe spreads a disease that can affect an entire spread breeding colony. One commercial cricket breeder reported that they had to dispose of 30 million crickets that died in a matter of weeks when the disease hit their cricket farm.

Some may be surprised to learn that crickets are being bred in farms for lucrative purposes. Apparently, crickets are in demand as food provisions for exotic pets, usually reptiles like snakes, geckos, and anoles. Zoos, pet store owners and private owners of exotic pets buy crickets as alternative to rodents.

Not a few have questioned the ethics of feeding live rodents to reptiles. The contention of the questioned party is that as part of pet’s nature as predatory animals, they tend to prefer to feed on live preys.

Does Cricket Paralysis Virus Affect only Crickets?

Insect virologists have established that the disease carrying microbe has no effect on humans,and other animal; or to a different type of cricket species. Initially, cricket breeders went into disinfecting hatches and equipment, and introducing fresh batches of cricket eggs. This only proved that the virus was already persistent and difficult to eradicate. Although the new eggs produced a healthy colony of crickets, the new inhabitants eventually contracted the disease and were likewise exterminated.

Nonetheless, it led to the discovery that the virus had no effect on a species of cricket that is different from the one that was previously bred.