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Cricket Facts, Identification and Control

Scientific Order: Orthoptera

common field cricket pest

Family: Gryllidae (true crickets)

Common species:

  • House cricket (Acheta domesticus)

  • Field crickets (subfamily Gryllinae), most commonly the fall field cricket (Gryllus pennsylvanicus)

  • Camel crickets (family Rhaphidophoridae), most commonly the greenhouse camel cricket (Diestrammena asynamora)

Control

Signs of Infestation

Crickets chirp to attract mates at night. Their chirps are loud, so chances are, if you have crickets... you'll hear them. Crickets are attracted to moist food sources such as sweaty clothing. Look for large feeding holes in different types of fabric such as wool, cotton, silk, or synthetic fibers.

House crickets lie on flat surfaces in damp, dark areas. If you have a significant infestation, you may begin to notice “frass,” which is dried excrement, building up around these surfaces.

Treatment and Prevention

Crickets are attracted to darkness, heat, and humidity. Controlling the humidity of your building is the best way to keep them out. Consider investing in a dehumidifier for particularly at-risk areas (like your basement) and ensure those have proper ventilation.

Look for and seal cracks around the foundation, siding, frames, or utility lines with caulk. Try to reduce the number of things that attract crickets to your building. Replace white outdoor lights with "cooler" yellow lights, and trim grass and bushes frequently.‌

Identification

       common house cricket pest

House Cricket

  • Size: ¾ to ⅞ inches (16-22 mm) long

  • Color: Grey, light yellow-brown or tan body with three dark bands on top of its head  

       common field cricket pest

Field Crickets

  • Size: ⅗ to 1 inches (15-25 mm) long

  • Color: Black or dark brown, shiny exoskeleton

       camel cricket pest

Camel Cricket

  • Size: ½ an inch long with long, spider-like legs. Sometimes called “Sprickets”, or “spider crickets”

  • Color: Tan with dark brown and tan banded markings on torso, legs and antennae


Behavior and Diet

Crickets are opportunistic omnivores. They feed on live, decaying, or dead plants, living or dead insects, and fabrics. Most crickets are nocturnal, and many chirp loudly to attract mates at night. They seek out dark, humid, and warm locations. 

Most crickets become a pest hazard in autumn. They may also attempt to leave your building in spring when outdoor temperatures rise. Crickets can also reproduce indoors, so you may continue to see them all winter during an infestation.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

The speed of cricket reproduction and life cycle depends on environmental temperature. In a humid environment with a temperature of 80-90°F, house crickets complete their entire life cycle in two to three months.

A single cricket can lay over 100 eggs in her lifetime. Cricket eggs hatch into nymphs after around 14 days. House crickets reach adulthood after their wings fully develop. Upon maturing, house crickets immediately begin searching for food and mates. 

Other Characteristics

  • Crickets make their distinctive loud chirping by scraping their serrated forewings together in the air (a process called "stridulation"). Crickets stridulate for several reasons, most notably to attract mates.
  • Crickets chirp at different tempos depending on species and temperature. The scientific law measuring the rate at which crickets chirp relative to the environmental temperature is called "Dolbear's Law." 
  • Some species of crickets can fly, while others simply crawl or "hop" relatively long distances. Even flying crickets can't fly long distances, however.

 

More Information

  • Clemson University Cooperative Extension’s “Camel Crickets” article, by Patricia A. Zungoli and Eric P. Benson

  • University of Florida Department of Entomology & Nematology’s “Featured Creatures” house crickets entry

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