The stadium’s pest control, unlike pest control on the rest of the UT campus, is maintained by the athletics department, Facilities Services spokesperson Laurie Lentz said. Assistant athletic director for facilities Brian Womack handles pest control and said crickets are not sprayed but are simply swept off the field after they die.
This year, the cricket population has been bigger than usual, UT biology senior lecturer John Abbott said in June. This happens every few years, he said. The right combination of weather patterns, drought followed by heavy rainfall, yield a high amount of the insects. The drought last year also killed many common cricket predators.
Womack said he did not receive any complaints about crickets from fans or spectators this weekend, but Longhorn Band members and football players both noticed a high number of the insects. Mellophone player Julieen Zhang said the crickets were mostly contained to the field.
“When I got on the field, it was literally raining crickets,” Zhang said. “One of them landed on my shoulder sometime toward the end of the show.”
Zhang, an accounting graduate student, said the cricket stayed on her shoulder for the remaining minute of the performance until she could finally flick it off. In her four years of marching at the stadium, Zhang said she had never seen anything like Saturday’s crickets.
“Before we did halftime, I saw them but I thought they were just like regular moths flying around,” Zhang said.
She said the crickets were a nuisance, but the band’s performance was unaffected.
Left guard Trey Hopkins said the crickets were numerous, but that he did not notice them until near the end of the game when one of the bugs jumped up and started crawling on his arm. Junior cornerback Carrington Byndom said he remembered seeing them while he was on the bench.
“I don’t know, maybe it’s getting kind of bad around here. Maybe there’s a cricket epidemic going on around here,” Byndom said. “I didn’t really notice it. I think it’ll be OK.”