Pest Information: Crickets

Crickets are an occasional invader that can become a general nuisance pest and cause considerable damage when they invade a home. The house cricket, Acheta domesticus, the field cricket, Gryllus spp., and the camel cricket, Ceuthophilus spp., are the most common species invading homes. Cricket chirping is an annoyance to many home owners and may create many sleepless nights. Crickets that get inside the home will feed on cloth and paper products and any uncontained food. Enormous numbers of crickets congregate around lights at night, making roads slick and public places and yards unattractive.

House and field crickets are common everywhere. These crickets are omnivorous, feeding readily on various foods and are particularly attracted to sweetened beverages and beer. The eggs are laid in the fall, usually in moist sandy soil, and hatch the following spring. House crickets are 3 /4 to 1 inch long, light yellowish brown with three darker brown bands on its head and long thin antennae. Field crickets are 1 /2 to 1 1 /4 th inches long and black in color. Field crickets are generally more robust and louder than house crickets. Both of these crickets are attracted to warmth and are often attracted to the vicinity of the fireplace, kitchen, furnace, water heater, or basement. They conceal themselves in cracks and crevices, such as behind baseboards, and may burrow into the mortar in walls. During warm weather the house cricket lives outdoors in fields, piles of debris, rocks, lumber, and garbage dumps. With the coming of cold weather, crickets enter the home seeking warmth. House crickets are nocturnal and attracted to light. Once inside the home these insects may attach to a variety of materials made from nylon, wood, cotton, wool, silk, or linen. They particularly enjoy clothing stained with perspiration or food.

The camel cricket is very different than house or field crickets. Although they are 1 /2 to 1 1 /2 inches long, they do not chirp and are excellent jumpers. Instead of being attracted to warmth, these crickets prefer cool moist places. They typically invade homes during hot dry weather or in the fall when seeking a place to overwinter. They are often found in crawl spaces and attics above two-story homes. They will also invade the living space and, because they are nocturnal, can give homeowners a great start after turning on the lights of a darkened room when these great leapers take off.

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