Crickets are insects that are distantly related to grasshoppers, and more than 900 cricket species have been identified and described by scientists. The cricket family, called Gryllidae, has a global range that stretches north to lower Alaska and from south to the end of South America. Crickets are considered good luck in many cultures, and these animals are also popular in folklore and literature. 

Crickets fall prey to many species in nature, from birds to bears, and they are a vital part of the food chain. Crickets are also a frequent feeder for many pests, such as lizards and spiders. Humans are eating crickets, too! In southeast Asia, deep-fried crickets are popular snack foods.

What do crickets look like?

For most people, cricket looks a lot like its relative, the grasshopper. Crickets have cylindrical bodies, rounded heads, long antennas, and powerful hind legs with long thighs. Most of the crickets found in the U.S. are black or brown, but a few are green. The biggest crickets in the world, the bull cricket family, can be two inches tall.

Crickets are small to medium-sized insects with largely cylindrical, slightly vertically flattened bodies. Head is spherical with long, slender antennae formed by cone-shaped scapes (first segments), and just behind them are two large, compound eyes. There are three ocelli on the forehead (simple eyes). The pronotum is the first thoracic segment which is trapezoidal in shape, sturdy, and well sclerotized. It is smooth and doesn’t have dorsal or lateral keels.

At the tip of the abdomen, there is a pair of long cerci (paired appendages on the backmost segment), and, in females, the ovipositor is cylindrical, long and narrow, smooth and shiny. The femora (third segment) of the back leg pair is greatly expanded for jumping. The tibiae (fourth segment) of the hind legs are armed with several moving spurs, the arrangement of which is characteristic of each species. The tibiae of the front legs feature one or more tympani, which are used for sound reception.

The wings lie flat on the body and their sound varies between species, less in some crickets, and absent in others. The forewings are made of tough chitin, functioning as a defensive shield for the soft parts of the body and the males, bearing the stridulatory organs for the generation of sound. The hind pair is a membranous, folding fan under the fore wings. In several species, wings are not optimal for flight.

The biggest family members are the 5 cm (2 in) long bull crickets (Brachytrupes) that excavate a meter down the burrows. Tree crickets (Oecanthinae) are white or pale green insects with transparent forewings, whilst field crickets (Gryllidae) are robust brown or black insects.

What are Crickets Attract to?

Crickets are drawn to your property by food, shelter, and light. In your lawn, garden, and flower beds, they will find food to eat. They’ll scavenge in your basement or cellar for more food and consume other insects.

Outside, crickets are hidden under foliage or objects like rocks, paver stones, lumber, or garbage cans. They venture into your home when normal nighttime temperatures drop, usually on approaching autumn.

Another big attraction for crickets is night time light. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why many nocturnal insects are drawn to light sources, but many cricket species are likely to be attracted by outside lights or bright lights visible through windows.

Are crickets poisonous to plants?

Many cricket species can be a garden pest where they can feast on young plants or flowers, but their damage is usually minor compared to other types of insects. They only become completely destructive when there is an explosion of crickets in one place. It is important to know that Crickets lay their eggs in the loose soil found in gardens and flowerbeds. That means that cricket populations will continue to grow drastically unless handled properly.

Are crickets dangerous to pets?

For the most part, crickets are not considered a threat to pets until they hit high infestation levels. For example, a swarm of crickets may eat all your pets’ food to the point of causing stress. In addition, many pets will eat any crickets they encounter opportunistically.

Are crickets dangerous to human beings?

It’s hard to believe at first thought that crickets are dangerous to humans. Their mouth is too tiny to bite. They’re not stinging or vomiting venom, but they have one irritating habit that can really bug you: chirping. You can disrupt your sleep or scramble your ability to focus by the chirping from only one cricket. Furthermore, crickets don’t have to be troublesome in your home — if your garden or flower beds are directly outside a bedroom window, these noisy insects are only there to stop you from getting a good night’s sleep.

Massive cricket infestations can pose their own risks. They can create a large amount of excrement that can cause sanitation problems.

Another cause for concern is crickets that can involuntarily attract additional species of pests to your home. Since they are such a great source of protein, many animals would be attracted to an area infested with crickets – from spiders to raccoons – these other animals could pose threats of their own.

With these concerns in mind, the removal of an infestation should be a primary concern for homeowners and landowners.

What do Crickets Eat?

Crickets, like many insects, are not picky eaters. They can eat vegetable and animal matter acting as omnivores. Sometimes, they work as scavengers, eating dead animals and rotting plants. In desperate times, crickets cannibalize other crickets too, sometimes attacking wounded or weakened fellows.

Mole crickets, a popular south-eastern U.S. lawn pest, have a diet based on worms, insect larvae, roots, and grasses. Crickets kept as pets (or other pets’ food) are often fed lettuce.

How do crickets chirp, and why?

Only male crickets chirp. .They do this to signal their ability to mate. After having successfully mated, some still chirp as a celebration song. Also, crickets can chirp just about everywhere, outside or inside, which explains why they can be so disruptive if they make it inside your house.

The male scrapes his wings together to produce these high pitched chirping sounds, which is also called stridulation.  As the two rubs together, the chirp is produced by comb-like serrations on the wings, a sound that is intensified by another part of the wing.

Can you guess the temperature with chirps?

Yes, depending on the temperature, crickets chirp at a greater rate. With these two formulas, if you’re willing to do a little math, you can calculate the temperature based on the number of chirps:

• Original formula- Fahrenheit temperature = 50 + (chirps per minute-40)/4.

Simplified Formula- Fahrenheit temperature = 40 + (Single cricket chirps over 15 seconds).

Amos Dolbear, who published an article about it in 1897, first reported this link between chirps and temperature. As a result, Dolbear ‘s Law was named after the original formula. The simplified formula is not as accurate as Dolbear’s, but it can be calculated a little more quickly and will be close to the actual temperature.

Life Cycle Cricket

The first generation of crickets in a year hatches in the spring after overwintering as eggs. They begin to grow and molt several times as they reach adulthood. Crickets develop their wings with their final juvenile moul.t a period that also indicates their sexual maturity. Several generations develop in the spring and summer.

By inserting their ovipositor into the ground and extruding the eggs, female crickets of most species lay single eggs in moist soil. A female cricket could lay as many as 400 eggs over a lifetime.

As temperatures cool, most species of crickets live from spring through fall and die. After a limited period of time, crickets that sneak into your home usually die.

Crickets In Literature

Crickets often appear as characters in literature. The Talking Cricket appeared in the 1883 children’s novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi, and in movies based on the book. The insect was central to The Cricket in the Hearth by Charles Dickens in 1845 and The Cricket published in Times Square by George Selden in 1960. In poems by William Wordsworth and John Keats, and crickets have been lauded for its chirping.

Habitat 

Except for cold regions at altitudes higher than about 55 ° North and South, crickets have a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring in all parts of the world. Many large and small islands have been colonized, sometimes flying across the sea to enter these sites or simply hop on floating timber or by human activity. In tropical areas, the greatest diversity occurs, such as in Malaysia, where 88 species were heard chirping from just a single location near Kuala Lumpur. As certain species are mute, a higher number than this may have been present.

Crickets are found in many habitats. In the upper tree canopy, and among grasses and herbs, members of several subfamilies are found. They appear on the ground and in caves as well, and some are underground, in deep caves. Some make their home in rotting wood, and some beach-dwelling species can run and leap over the water surface.

Reproductivity

In species that stridulate or chirp, females are drawn to the males by their chirping. Using the antenna, the pair makes contact, during which a short stage of courtship occurs.

A single spermatophore is transferred to its external genitalia, which fertilizes the female. This spermatophore can be removed by the female as it can mate on many occasions with various males.

How you should get rid of crickets

Spray bug

Use either an all-purpose bug spray or one specifically produced for crickets. Use it near windows and openings in your home where these crickets will enter. In order to destroy cricket eggs, bug sprays are also useful.

DIY Methods

The most powerful DIY process is performed with molasses. Crickets are drawn to the delicious odor of molasses and will come out immediately to try to feast on it. Get a bowl that is deep enough for the bugs to leap into to try this technique. Build a molasses and water solution and fill the bowl with it. These bugs are going to hop into the bowl and get trapped. To attract the remaining crickets until you are sure that they are gone, regularly empty the bowl and fill it with a new solution.

  1. Traps 

You can position conventional sticky traps to capture them once you have found the areas where the crickets live. With butter paper and wax (which is sweet and will attract the crickets), either make your traps or purchase pre-made traps to catch them. Toss them out once you have enough crickets and replace the trap to catch more.

  1. Vacuuming

Cricket vacuuming is an efficient way to get rid of them, but you want to make sure that you either destroy them or release them somewhere far from your home once you vacuum them; otherwise, they might come back. Vacuuming is particularly successful if cricket eggs have been discovered. You want to get rid of those eggs before they hatch.

Exterminators Advice

There are two ways to chemically treat for crickets. You can use a repellant or non-repellant insecticide.

Using a repellent insecticide works by creating a smelly chemical around the area that you want to protect. Most of these products will kill insects on contact but the issue is that if any of it gets disturbed or if there is a opening, bugs will find their way in. This used to be how all pest control was performed.

Most pest control companies today use transferable, non-repellent insecticides.

The main advantage of using non-repellent, transferable insecticides is just what the name implies…the insects do not notice it, so they readily walk through it and with it being transferable, they pass it on to other insects. The more social the insect (especially ants or termites) really are susceptible. Transferable insecticides do not kill right away, this is by design. When the insect walks through the transferable product they will eventually return to their harborage where they will then interact with the other bugs, thus spreading it to all the others…then they all die.

Some Interesting Cricket Types

Camel Cricket

The camel cricket is named as such because of a hump-like feature on its back and long spidery legs. Adult camel crickets do not have wings or the ability to stridulate. They are found around greenhouses. If they invade your home, they may become real pests. This is likely because camel crickets search for cool and humid areas, such as your bathroom or laundry room, where they join and inhabit in severe weather conditions. 

Yes, Vinegar in water kills crickets in about a minute (at 4 oz. per quart). In about a minute, lemon juice in water (4 oz. per quart) can kill about 80 percent. Peppermint Oil is efficient repellent, mainly when mixed with some white vinegar. 

The Cricket of Mormons

The Mormon cricket is named after the first Mormon settlement that became infested with these crickets in the state of Utah. The Mormon cricket is actually a katydid, although it is called cricket and looks very similar to one of them. In western North America, they live and can grow up to three inches in length.

They may have black, brown, green, or purple skin. Based on whether or not they are in their swarming process, they will change color. In this process, a female may lay many of her eggs in the soil through her ovipositor. Mormon crickets consume grass and vegetation as food. They commonly fall prey to crows, coyotes and even some Native American tribes enjoy them as food.

Mormon Cricket

Jerusalem Cricket 

Because of their rounded body that resembles a human head, Jerusalem crickets are also known as potato bugs or ‘old bald creatures.’ These are not true crickets because they belong to the Stenopelmatus tribe, but they are considered to be because of their similar stridulating habits. By rubbing their hind legs against their abdomens, they create a hissing noise to scare away predators,

These crickets are not venomous, but to fend off threats, they use a foul smell and can even bite humans very hard!

House Crickets

The chances say that if you have ever come across a cricket indoors, it was probably a house cricket. They can be found in your home’s kitchens, fireplaces, behind numerous appliances and furniture, and other holes. They are nocturnal throughout the night, being vocal and active.

House crickets, like field crickets, are driven by cold temperatures indoors. All stages are capable of living year-round in buildings. By night, adults are drawn to lights. House crickets are usually found within buildings in humid, dark locations. Things such as cotton, linen, wool, silk, and fur can be affected, especially when they are soiled by transpiration or food.

House Cricket

Parktown Prawn, or King Cricket

The Parktown prawn, or the African king cricket, comes from the family Anostostomatidae. They get their name from a neighborhood in South Africa where they are extremely popular.

While homeowners may not want one inside their homes, they are very useful outdoors as they help tremendously in controlling garden snail populations; gardeners hold them in high regard. These crickets are classified as omnivorous but eat almost everything vegetable matter to cat and dog food.

In the city of Parktown, an urban legend says that the high population of king crickets in the area results from a genetic experiment in the 1960s by a nearby university.

Parktown Prawn

Australian field cricket

Field cricket, known by several names. What is fascinating about these crickets is that their population increased in size thanks to human support. It was brought to Hawaii by trading ships either in 1877 or by Polynesian colonists in the 5th century.

These crickets’ color is black or dark brown, with streaks on the back of their heads. By opening and closing the wings quickly, they produce the chirping like sound.  The females of the species are often selective and may not respond to every suitor’s mating call. Therefore, the competition between males is highly spirited: pressing together antennas and striving to produce a high pitch chirp.

The mating male makes a distinct mating call, attracting the female cricket with proof of fitness and suitability. They are sometimes referred to as the Pacific, or crickets of the Oceanic region. Crickets will turn out to be very interesting creatures with a multitude of fascinating qualities after you decide to give them a chance.

Australian field cricket

Spider Crickets

Spider crickets are voraciousness eaters. They feast on fabric, carpets, wood, cardboard, dust, plants, and even each other. Their mandibles are very effective, which can help them chew many different household products. Spider crickets prefer dark and moist spots in your basement, family room, shed, or crawl space. Their lack of chirping ability is another attribute that distinguishes spider crickets from true crickets. They can’t chirp at all, which could be good or bad, depending on your point of view. They won’t keep you up at night, but this will make them difficult to find.

Cave Crickets

Typically, they cannot breed outside their outdoor environments and find indoor areas that are dark and moist enough to suit them. They prefer wet surroundings. At these times, large numbers of these pests are drawn to damp crawl spaces, basements, and bathrooms.

They stain surfaces with their waste, certain species of cave cricket have been known to damage clothing and curtains. Without adequate food sources, they can survive for long. Their diet includes Livestock goods, Fabrics, and plants.

How to get rid of cave cricket?

3 Strategies for getting rid of your home’s Cave Crickets

Some of the most effective and efficient techniques to get rid of camel crickets can be found below.

  • Sticky traps:  sticky tape can trap some of the camel crickets that have invaded the house.
  • Insecticides: At any local hardware or grocery store, insecticides are available. This is not a good idea if the home has little kids or pets.
  • Dehumidifier: Purchasing a dehumidifier would make the site a less likely place to want to live for the camel cricket.

The use of natural solutions to deal with cave cricket will help keep the cost of infestation down. It can prove to be beneficial to use cedar near the entry site because it is a natural fungicide and insecticide.

The ability to fend off cave crickets is also present in these natural techniques. Tea tree oil appears to work better with cave crickets than it does with bed bugs. A successful alternative can also be peppermint and cedar oils.

Why do Spider Cricket jump at you?

When terrified, they jump, sometimes directly at what scares them. Don’t lean down for a closer look, or you could get a spider cricket in the face. Since these crickets’ mandibles are built to chew and not inflict a bite in self-defense. However, if a spider cricket lands on your skin, it will start to gnaw, causing pain

Commonly Asked Questions

Q. Does vinegar kill crickets?

A. Yes, Vinegar in water kills crickets in about a minute (at 4 oz. per quart). In about a minute, lemon juice in water (4 oz. per quart) can kill about 80 percent. Peppermint Oil is efficient repellent, mainly when mixed with some white vinegar. HOWEVER, as a pest control professional, this works best for very, very small infestations.

Q. Do crickets bite?

A. Cave, camel and spider crickets do not have the ability to bite. Other crickets will rarely bite but bites, while they can be irritating are not harmful or overly painful

Q. Will boric acid kill crickets

A. Yes, if they come into contact with it, however it does not carry the “transfer effect”.

Q. Will diatomaceous earth (DE) kill crickets?

A. Yes, DE will kill crickets but it has no “transfer effect”. Crickets must touch the DE for it to work. DE is a desiccant. Desiccant is a fancy word meaning “Dry out”. Insects have a waxy coating on their exoskeleton; when they walk through DE, they will then groom themselves which spreads the DE all over them. The DE then causes the wax on their exoskeleton to wear away so they die from dehydration.

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Dusty Showers has been in the urban nuisance wildlife and pest control field since 1993. Taught by Garon Fyffe, a pioneer in humane nuisance wildlife management, Dusty has a passion for finding humane solutions to human & wildlife conflicts. Dusty was the only individual invited by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission in the lat 1990's to help write legislation for legal protection of Florida bats. With an instinct for solving wildlife, Dusty found pest control to be an easy "add-on interest". Dusty started his first business "Animal Instincts Wildlife & Pest Management" in the Tampa Bay, Florida area in 1995. Eventually selling Animal Instincts in 2002, Dusty went on to start Creepy Creatures Termite and Pest Control in 2009, which he still owns and operates today in Palm Harbor, Florida.

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