Cricket Facts, Identification and Control
Scientific Order: Orthoptera
Family: Gryllidae (true crickets)
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)
Signs of Infestation
The most obvious sign of cricket infestation is the telltale mating call. The crickets chirp to attract mates at night. Crickets are attracted to moist food sources such as sweaty clothing. Look for damage to different types of fabric such as wool, cotton, silk, or synthetic fibers. Unlike moths or other fabric pests, house crickets leave large damage sites behind on the fabric they feed on.
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 on 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.
Like all pests, crickets require a means of getting into your building. Look for and seal cracks around the foundation, siding, window and door frames, or utility lines. Use caulk or steel wool to seal off these gaps. You should also 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.
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. If they're in your building, they're most likely in your basement or crawl space.
Most crickets become a pest hazard in autumn when they move into buildings to keep warm. They may even attempt to leave your building in spring when outdoor temperatures rise. Crickets can and will reproduce indoors, however, 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. Nymphs resemble smaller versions of adult house crickets, but they don’t initially have wings. A house cricket reaches adulthood after its wings are fully developed. Once matured, house crickets immediately begin searching for food and mates.
- 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 actually chirp at different tempos depending on species and temperature. There's actually a scientific law measuring the rate at which crickets chirp relative to the environmental temperature, 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 and tend to fly from perch to perch.
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
Penn State University’s Gryllus pennsylvanicus Field Cricket Species Page