This genus of crayfish is wholly North American, with over 100 different species. While they may pose a nuisance around homes when they migrate over the ground or hibernate in crawl spaces, in general crayfish are beneficial scavengers and highly prized for their food value. They burrow into the mud along banks of ponds, lakes, and slow-moving streams and this sometimes is considered a concern with erosion of the soil. They are opportunistic feeders and will capture live prey such as insects, tadpoles, and small fish, but also feed on dead animals found in the water as well as some amount of plant material. Eggs of the female are fertilized in the spring and then glued to the underside of her tail appendage, hatching to the young crayfish from that point. Typically crayfish in this genus live no more than 2 years. They breathe with gills, so must be in the water nearly all of the time. However, they are capable of leaving the water to wander over the ground, and in some cases may invade residential and other urban areas. In the winter it is thought that they move deeper in the water to avoid freezing and remain active.
There rarely is any need for control of these animals, and if found in large numbers on land should be collected, boiled, and eaten.