Jerusalem crickets (see this picture
of Jerusalem cricket, aka sand crickets or
potato bugs) are truly bizarre looking insects.
People sometimes think they have uncovered an
alien species the first time they encounter one.
The large shiny head and scorpion-like
abdomen immediately suggest that this creature
is dangerous but it is not, Jerusalem
crickets can't sting and are non-venomous.
However, like any large insect, up to 2" in this
case, they can bite.
While not a true cricket, Jerusalem
crickets feed on plant material in the same way
that crickets and grasshoppers do, but are not
usually present in numbers that would cause
damage to garden plants. Jerusalem crickets live
mostly underground, or under rocks, and may
wander into outbuildings looking for shade
and/or water. These insects are actually fairly
common throughout the western US and other dry
and semi-arid climates worldwide. No
control is necessary.