Parasites & Crickets

Horsehair worms are active and often observed during late summer or fall months. People sometimes find them after stepping on a cricket. We’ve received calls from people reporting horsehair worms “swimming” in the toilet bowl after emerging from a cricket that had been tossed into the toilet. Horsehair worms are also found in streams and ponds and in domestic water containers such as bird baths, swimming pools, backyard ponds and pet dishes. They may also be found on damp garden soil after a rain.

The adult horsehair worms are free-living in fresh water and damp soil. Parasitized crickets seek water because they are thirsty. This behavior allows the horsehair worm to emerge from the insect’s body and swim away in the water–an essential step in completing its life cycle.