Crickets

Every summer we enjoy the return of birds singing, campfires crackling and crickets chirping. While crickets play an important role in our lawn ecosystem, they can become a real pest in our homes. Although crickets aren’t dangerous to people or pets, they can cause damage to household items and be a nuisance due to their chirps. Luckily, they are easy to identify and easy to control by using the Sunday Integrated Pest Management approach.

Get to Know Crickets

Known for their chirping, these long-legged insects are found coast to coast during the spring, summer and fall seasons (they love the 80-85° F range). Their famous chirps are actually made by male crickets rubbing their wings together to attract females. 

Despite there being over 100 species of crickets in the United States, only a few are common pests in and around buildings. The most notorious are the house cricket (Acheta spp.), field cricket (Gryllus spp.), and camel cricket (Diestrammena spp.). Like all species, these crickets are important members of our ecosystem, and only a pest when inside the home.

How to ID Crickets

All adult crickets are about 1 inch long. Their bodies have three segments: a head, thorax and abdomen. Crickets have six legs and two antennae.

 

House crickets are the lightest in color. Their bodies are yellowish-brown and vary in length from 0.75 to 1 inch.

 

Field crickets are much darker in color with black bodies and long brown wings. They will vary in length from 0.5 to 1.25 inches.

Sunday Science Fun Fact: The song of the field cricket is temperature dependent. The tone and tempo drop with a drop in temperature. Count the number of chirps over 15 seconds, add 40, and you will have the approximate temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Camel crickets are the easiest to identify. They are unique because of their humpbacked appearance (hence their name), their long jumping legs,  their lack of wings and their ability to jump sideways! Camel crickets range in color from light tan to brown with darker brown bands covering their bodies. They are usually 0.5 to 1.5 inches in length. People commonly mistake camel crickets for larger spiders.

Cricket Lookalikes

 House and field crickets are often confused with cockroaches. To tell them apart:

  1. Look at the shape of their body. Crickets have cylindrical bodies while cockroaches are flat and oval shaped. 
  2. Look at how they move. Crickets will jump (not crawl) away if approached. 

Camel crickets are commonly mistaken for larger spiders.

Crickets are Important for Lawn Ecosystems

During summer months crickets will usually remain outdoors. Outside, crickets are beneficial. They eat the seeds of many weed species and break down organic matter (which results in nutrients returning to your soil). Crickets are also critical food sources for birds and amphibians.

When Crickets Become Pests

Crickets only become pests when they enter the home. Typically this happens by mistake or because they are looking for shelter during seasonal changes. Once inside, crickets will find a dark, warm place to live. In addition to their chirping keeping you up at night, house and field crickets may feed on fabrics including cotton, linen, wool, silk, and fur, but are most likely to feed on fabrics that are soiled with either food or perspiration. Unlike other crickets, camel crickets are considered a pest for their presence alone since they don’t typically damage household items or chirp. 

Sunday ProTip: Think you might have a cricket pest? House and field crickets are chirpers but if their songs don’t give them away, another indication of their presence is finding chewed clothes, furniture or curtains.

How to Prevent Crickets from Entering Your Home

Sunday utilizes an Integrative Pest Management approach to help you with crickets in your home. This approach relies on the prevention, management, and exclusion of pests and not immediate chemical treatment.

 

You can prevent crickets by:

  1. Minimizing cricket habitat near your home. Eliminate rock piles, stacks of wood, overgrown vegetation, and general clutter.
  2. Installing duller, yellow lights. Limit the use of bright, white outdoor lights as these attract crickets to your home.
  3. Sealing out crickets. Closing openings around the foundation of your home to prevent entry. Seal any cracks or openings in doors or windows. Also, look for light under your garage door. If you can see light then a cricket can get in.
  4. Limiting access to food. Keep food in tightly sealed containers and clean spills as they occur.
  5. Cleaning up basement and garage spaces. Oftentimes, cricket and other critter carcasses accumulate in these areas. Those dry carcasses are a great food source for crickets and other household pests.
  6. Reducing moisture. Camel crickets love areas with high moisture. Reduce moisture with ventilation, a dehumidifier, or by creating moisture barriers.

Get a Cricket Free Home + Yard

If you require a little extra treatment, Sunday has a full line of easy to use, bio-based solutions to solve your cricket concerns. 

 

Bug Doom

Sunday’s plant-powered, biodegradable Bug Doom is a ready-to-use spray on pest treatment that can be used indoors as a spot treatment or outdoors as a barrier treatment for house and field crickets. 

 

Ant Adios 

Sunday’s Ant Adios can be used outdoors as a line of defense for perimeter protection to control house and field crickets.

 

Control Pests the Sunday Way

Interested in learning more about Sunday Smart Pest Plan or our Integrated Pest Management approach? Check out The Shed for more information on how to manage all of your unwanted pests.

Cited Sources

Bradley, L. et. al. Cricket Management. University of Arizona College of Agriculture.

Housemen, B. House-Invading Crickets | MU Extension. University of Missouri Extension.