- Author: Karey Windbiel-Rojas
They are Jerusalem crickets, also sometimes called sand cricket, niña de la tierra (child of the earth), potato bug, and stone cricket.
Jerusalem crickets are relatives of crickets, grasshoppers, and katydids. These large insects can be up to two inches long and have heads that somewhat resemble a human head. Their head and body are amber colored, with dark stripes on the abdomen, long antennae, and no wings. Their thick legs are designed for burrowing in the ground.
Jerusalem crickets generally feed on other insects and sometimes on tubers (like potatoes). They have powerful jaws and can bite humans, but they are not poisonous. The bite can be painful, so be careful when handling.
If you find one in your garden, don't worry; Jerusalem crickets do not usually build up in high numbers and cause little if any damage to plants. Learn more at http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/GARDEN/VEGES/PESTS/jeruscricket.html