The sound of crickets chirping can be soothing to many people. They are a symbol of the day winding down and of the peaceful nature of the outdoors. However, if you have ever had a cricket infestation, you know that it can be a major annoyance if it starts to get out of hand. This is especially true if you have crickets in your house.
Knowing how to identify a cricket when you see one can help you decide your best course of action to avoid the disruption that comes with an infestation. In this article, you’ll learn:
- How to Identify Crickets
- Cricket Behavior and Habits
- What Attracts Crickets
- How You Can Get Rid of Crickets
Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!
Table Of Contents
How to Identify Crickets
There are several different species of crickets that are native to the United States. However, some are much more common than others, and these are the ones that you’re most likely to run into around your yard or inside your house. Field crickets and house crickets are the most frequent visitors to North American properties, but mole crickets and camel crickets tend to show up. Field crickets and house crickets emit the chirping noise you’re probably most familiar with and associate with these pests. However, there are other ways to identify them if you’re able to get a glimpse of them.
Crickets are often mistaken for grasshoppers because they have similar characteristics. Crickets, though, are much smaller in size, and they will have darker colors than grasshoppers. A typical adult cricket is around ¾” to one inch in length and has large hind legs designed for jumping long distances. The difference between house crickets and field crickets is most apparent in their color. House crickets will be yellowish-brown, while field crickets are usually dark brown or black. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of a cricket is its long antennae. These antennae are often much longer than the entire length of the cricket’s body and will be instantly recognizable.
The cricket chirp is another recognizable trait that you can look for to determine whether or not you have a cricket infestation. They make this noise by rubbing their front wings together, and when you have large numbers of crickets in or around your home, the noise can be incredibly disruptive. The loud chirping will usually stop when you get close to where the cricket is hiding, which can make getting rid of a cricket problem incredibly difficult.
Cricket Behavior and Habits
Crickets are attracted to warm, moist areas, which is why you may be likely to have an infestation of them in or around your home. This is especially true if you have a basement or attic that gets particularly humid in the summer or winter, whether from the outside heat or a furnace. If you suspect you have a cricket infestation, it is a good idea to check your crawl spaces or any place that might be dark and humid.
Only male crickets will make their characteristic chirping sound. They do this to attract female crickets and initiate aggression with other male crickets. Once a male has mated with a female, the female will then look for soil to deposit their eggs with an appendage called an ovipositor. The eggs will enter the life cycle from there, which begins with larvae, then moves onto nymph, and then finally adult.
Mole crickets are different from field or house crickets and make their home in your lawn. Because of this, they can be extremely detrimental to the health of your lawn and can cause severe damage if they are allowed to breed and live. Mole crickets have this common name because of their distinctive front appendages, perfectly adapted to digging. They will create burrows in the lawn and can be difficult to remove, even for pest control professionals. This is why they can be a nuisance for homeowners, and cricket control should be exercised whenever possible.
Crickets have distinct habits that make them different from other types of pests you might deal with as a homeowner. One is that they will chirp more frequently and be more generally active when the weather gets warm. The other is that they hear with their legs and have their auditory organs on their lower forelegs. This makes them very good at sensing when a person is nearby, which can increase the difficulty of trying to get rid of them.
Crickets are attracted to warm, moist areas, which is why you may be likely to have an infestation of them in or around your home. This is especially true if you have a basement or attic that gets particularly humid in the summer or winter, whether from the outside heat or a furnace.
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What Are Crickets Attracted To?
Field crickets usually stay away from your home and will be found outdoors in places like pastures and backyards where there is a lot of vegetation and dead insects for them to feed on. On the other hand, house crickets will be more attracted to the inside of your home.
Unfortunately, like all types of crickets, they will be most active in the warmer months, which is when it’s easiest to gain entry into your home. This is why you must make sure your doors and windows have screens so you can air out and ventilate the house without letting pests such as crickets inside.
Once crickets are inside your home, they’ll be most attracted to your houseplants and any fabrics you have in the house. They are most likely to go after your wool, cotton, leather, and silk and will use their distinctive mouthparts to chew through them. You may notice jagged holes in your plants or fabrics, which is a good indicator that you have a cricket problem and that you may soon be dealing with their loud chirping in the middle of the night.
How Do You Get Rid of Crickets?
The best way to get rid of crickets is to apply both indoor and outdoor treatments simultaneously. You can create a natural barrier by adding a few tablespoons of molasses or maple syrup to a shallow bowl and then filling it partially with water. Place this bowl in an area where the crickets are most likely to be, such as attics or basements, and leave it for a few days. The crickets will be attracted to the smell of the molasses or syrup and get stuck in the bowl. This is a great, natural way to protect the inside of your home and keep crickets from nesting and laying eggs.
For the exterior of your home, you can apply diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of your yard. Diatomaceous earth scratches up the exterior of a cricket’s exoskeleton as they cross over it. This prevents the crickets from absorbing water, and they will eventually die of dehydration. Diatomaceous earth is also non-toxic, making it a great option for households with children or pets.
Keep Crickets Away From Your Home
If you’re dealing with a cricket infestation, your best bet will be calling a pest control professional. They will be able to locate the infestation source and help you set up a barrier around your home to make sure the crickets don’t come back. If you’re losing sleep because of the constant loud chirping, getting a professional involved can help.
While crickets aren’t harmful to humans, they can be a major nuisance if they’re allowed to reproduce and stay on your property. Getting the help you need to make sure your house stays peaceful can help you and your family feel comfortable in your home.