The crickets were in the toilet, in the family's shoes, in the pumpkin pie.
But first, they were in Port Allen.
On Friday, the internet was enthralled by the tribulations of the Ingraham family, whose patriarch Christopher unwittingly unleashed hundreds of insects into their Minnesota home.
Ingraham, a Washington Post journalist, ordered 250 crickets for Holly, the family's insatiable bearded dragon they adopted for Christmas. When the bugs arrived from Fluker Farms, Ingraham opened the box incorrectly and tried to tape it back up so he could return to a deadline story. It didn't work out.
In a remote part of Port Allen, situated on a gravel-lined, fenced-in compound, Fluker Farms quietly operates a sizable live cricket selling o…
"Having never ordered Internet crickets before, I naively assumed that I'd open up the box and find the crickets in some sort of sealed bag or other contraption to facilitate easy transfer to their final storage place. … I was wrong," he wrote in an account for the Post.
"As I was making final edits to the story, I continued to hear increasingly frantic cricket-related outbursts from the kitchen. (My wife) Briana later told me that she first realized something was terribly wrong when one of the cats suddenly leaped on to a pumpkin pie that had been warming on the countertop. It was going after an unusually large cricket that was munching the filling."
In a Twitter message, Ingraham was clear — he's the one at fault for not following directions on the package.
Apparently I had not sealed the box shut as well as I should have. I ended up rushing out to the shed, in the 18" of snow and below zero temperatures, to pick up a spare aquarium we had. I spent about 45 minutes collecting crickets from the bathroom.— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) December 29, 2018
He's not alone, though, said David Fluker, co-owner of Port Allen-based Fluker's Farms.
Since 1953, the company has sold insects and worms for anglers as well as for owners of pet birds, reptiles and amphibians. Escapes are not uncommon.
"You do have to plan ahead a little bit," Fluker said.
Back in 2013, the company released a YouTube video explaining how to prepare for the safe containment of hundreds of insects. An industry tip, Fluker said, is to put the box in the refrigerator for a bit to lull the creatures to sleep.
The insect ranchers were tickled by the Ingrahams' story. The farm wasn't at fault — their product arrived alive and lively — and Fluker said the account of the ordeal may bump up business among buyers looking for mail-order crickets.
As for the reporter's family, Ingraham played out the rest of the day through increasingly panicked tweets.
"Crickets on the floor. Crickets on the walls. Crickets in the sink. Crickets in the toilet," he posted at 8:03 p.m.
"I tried to collect all of them. It was like the world's (worst) game of Pokemon. But here we are, roughly 10 hours after the initial catastrophe, and stray crickets are still turning up in odd places," he tweeted.
Eventually, he confessed that if his account went silent, the thousands of people following the events should assume that his wife finally snapped and murdered him. Nevertheless, aside from the crickets that may have been flushed, eaten by the cats or otherwise perished, the Ingraham household survived, Ingraham wrote.
"But something's chirping in the bathroom."