Many parts of Texas are under siege by crickets. They congregate on patios, slip into stairwells -- and, if they're crunched underfoot, they make the fanciest surroundings smell like a bait shop.


Crickets are annoying Texans earlier than usual, thanks to the year's wet weather in much of the state. The problem is so bad at the University of Texas that officials are turning out the lights of their iconic 307-foot-tall bell tower for three nights each of the next two weekends. They hope that keeps the bugs away, since they're drawn to the lights.

Crickets also seem to like hanging out well above the streets of Austin at other downtown buildings. Reports of cricket invasions also are coming in from counties in the Hill Country and northeast Texas and in Dallas.