The Big Case of Mis-ID

By on January 31st, 2020

We have all been there – you see a pest (usually some kind of bug) or hear a noise and ask a friend or colleague what it could be. They are sure of what it is and tell you it is “a field cricket.” If your friend happens to be Sheldon Cooper, they tell you it is “a snowy tree cricket, aka Oecanthus Fultoni.”

In “The Jiminy Conjecture,” of The Big Bang Theory, this exact scenario happens. Raj, Howard, and Sheldon hear what they believe to be a cricket. Sheldon is convinced it is a specific species of cricket due to its chirp while Howard disagrees. Sheldon, confident that it is a snowy tree cricket, bets Howard one of his prized comic books and Howard accepts.

Raj: “What’s that?”

Howard: “Sounds like a cricket.”

Sheldon: “Hang on. Based on the number of chirps per minute and the ambient temperature in this room, it is a snowy tree cricket.”

Howard: “Oh, give me a frickin’ break. How could you possibly know that?”

Sheldon: “In 1890, Emile Dolbear determined that there was a fixed relationship between the number of chirps per minute of the snowy tree cricket and the ambient temperature. A precise relationship that is not present with ordinary field crickets.”

Raj: “How do you know what the exact temperature of the room is?”

Sheldon: “Under the terms of my roommate agreement with Leonard, I’ve had unilateral control of the thermostat ever since the sweaty night of ’06.”

They start looking everywhere in their apartment to no avail. Sheldon, wanting Howard’s Fantastic Four #48 and to be right, climbs down the elevator shaft right outside of their apartment door to inspect for the cricket in question. While Shedlon is in the elevator shaft, Howard and Raj think they hear the cricket in the stairwell and go to check. Unfortunately for Sheldon, his flashlight’s batteries die leaving him in the dark while inside the elevator shaft. Ultimately, they find the cricket, but still disagree over its ID even after seeing it. A second argument ensues over what the cricket’s name should be. Sheldon’s vote is “Jiminy” and Howard’s is choice is “Toby.”

The disagreement remains as follows: Sheldon is convinced the culprit is a snowy tree cricket, while Wolowitz strongly disagrees – asserting it is a field cricket. Similar to how anyone can be a “doctor” today with the help of WebMD, a lot of people think they can be an entomologist or trained pest professional, simply by googling or in rare scenarios – knowledge from youth. In this scenario, ID’ing this bug is not a precarious situation; however, there is a bet involved so the pressure for Sheldon to prove his case.

Howard: “Okay, you were right about Wolverine and bone claws, but you’re wrong about the cricket.”

Sheldon: “Howard, don’t embarrass yourself, the science chirps for itself. Humorous word play.”

Howard: “No, no, not this time. I know insects, my friend, I spent many childhood years capturing them with nets, putting them in glass jars, sticking pins through them, mounting them on corrugated cardboard with Dymo labels underneath, identifying the genus and species. In Latin.”

Howard Wolowitz decides to end this argument by looking in a Field Guide for North American Insects – a great idea, if you are a trained Eco-Safe Professional.

Howard: “All right, Sheldon, here we go, Kleingast’s Field Guide to North American Insects. Hey, Toby. Right here, see it? The common field cricket, aka Gryllus assimilis, which is Latin for suck it, you lose.”

Sheldon: “Hang on. Voilà, the snowy tree cricket, aka Oecanthus Fultoni, which is Latin for I’ll suck nothing. Of course, I’m joking because the Latin for that is Nihil Exsorbibo.”

Just like how one symptom can have many causes on WebMD, two people can easily perceive the same thing in different lights. Hopefully, if you are in a bet with someone, it is not Sheldon Cooper because proving to him that he is wrong is an extremely difficult feat.

Sheldon: “Howard, you know me to be a very smart man. Don’t you think that if I were wrong, I’d know it?”

At this point, Wolowitz (Howard) has had enough and decides to go to the resident Entomologist at CalTech to settle their disagreement. The scene starts with Raj, Wolowitz, and Sheldon entering the Entomology lab equipped with the standard insects on the walls and in terrariums. We soon learn that Raj is deathly afraid of bugs.

Raj: “I don’t like bugs, okay. They freak me out.”

Sheldon: “Interesting. You’re afraid of insects and women. Ladybugs must render you catatonic.”

Professor Crawley, the resident Entomologist, walks in upset because CalTech just cut their funding. Eco-Safe Pest Control has their very own resident Board-Certified Entomologist, who also happened to be a Professor as well. Like Professor Crawley, our Entomologist can also identify almost any insect in the world.

Sheldon: “Professor, can you identify our cricket?”

Crawley: “Of course, I can. I can identify every insect and arachnid on the planet.”

Howard: “Could you look at Toby?”

Crawley: “Toby? What a stupid name for a cricket.”

Sheldon, to Howard: “Told you.”

While Toby may be a crazy name for a cricket, we once found a rescue cricket near our office that we named Jimothy. Jimothy was missing one leg and we helped nurse him back to health to eventually release him in a safe outdoor area. It turns out that Howard was right all along. Professor Crawley identified “Toby” as a common field cricket to Sheldon’s dismay. Not only did Sheldon lose his comic book, he was wrong!

Think of all the time and energy Sheldon and Howard wasted when they could have just emailed the picture of the cricket to We could have identified it in an instant, with a clear enough picture. Remember, sometimes an incorrect ID of a pest can result in serious consequences for home and business owners, just how an incorrect diagnosis from WebMD can be bad. A common example would be someone confusing a termite for an ant.

If you ever have a question about a pest, remember you can ask your Eco-Safe Expert at any time or call us to set up your free inspection for your home or business in Dallas Fort Worth for pest control. While we may not have Sheldon’s IQ, we can definitely help you win a pest ID bet.