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Cricket Picture



Certain crickets occasionally invade homes and become a pest by their presence. Homeowners complain of their monotonous chirping, which can be annoying especially at night when trying to get some sleep. Indoors, some crickets can feed on a wide variety of fabrics, foods and paper products. Cotton, linen, wool, rayon, nylon, silk and furs are susceptible, along with soiled fabrics, sizing from wallpaper, glue from bookbindings, fruit, vegetables, meat and even other crickets. An occasional cricket or two in the home usually presents no serious problem. However, large populations may congregate around lights at night, making places unattractive.

The field cricket is one of the most common household accidental invader insect pests. Field crickets are primarily outdoor insects, and as such are only accidental indoor invaders. Nevertheless, they can become a considerable household nuisance when abundant. Unlike house crickets (the species commonly sold in stores as pet food), they will not breed or establish permanent indoor infestations.

Indoors, crickets may damage clothing, drapes or wall coverings by their feeding activities or by staining with their feces or regurgitations. Although crickets do not normally feed on fabrics, soiled clothing or clothes stained with perspiration may be damaged by crickets.

During severe outbreaks crickets can create an aesthetically unacceptable situation around places of business. Dead crickets quickly pile up, causing odors; and many people are repelled by the sight of large numbers of crickets on walls and sidewalks around offices and stores.
Facts About Crickets

There are about 900 species of crickets. They tend to be nocturnal and are often confused with grasshoppers because they have a similar body structure including jumping hind legs.

Crickets are known for their chirp (which only male crickets can do; male wings have ridges or "teeth" that act like a "comb and file" instrument). The left forewing has a thick rib (a modified vein) which bears 50 to 300 "teeth". The chirp is generated by raising their left forewing to a 45 degree angle and rubbing it against the upper hind edge of the right forewing, which has a thick scraper (Berenbaum 1995). This sound producing action is called "stridulation" and the song is species-specific. There are two types of cricket songs: a calling song and a courting song. The calling song attracts females and repels other males, and is fairly loud. The courting song is used when a female cricket is near, and is a very quiet song.

To hear the mating call of other crickets, a cricket has ears located on its knees, just below the joint of the front legs.

Crickets are omnivores and scavengers feeding on organic materials, as well as decaying plant material, fungi, and some seedling plants. Crickets also have been known to eat their own dead when there is no other source of food available..

Crickets are popular pets and are considered good luck in Asia, especially China where they are kept in cages (Carrera 1991). It is also common to have them as caged pets in some European countries, particularly in the Iberian Peninsula. Cricket fighting as a gambling or sports betting pastime also occurs, particularly in Macao. Crickets may also be eaten in some cultures, and are popular as live food for carnivorous pets.

In English-speaking comedy, the sound of crickets may be used to humorously indicate a dead silence when a response or activity is expected. For example, if a comedian in a TV show tells a bad joke, instead of the audience laughing, crickets may chirp.

Crickets breakdown plant material, renewing soil minerals. They are also an important source of food for other animals.


Tips for controlling Crickets

Sanitation is the most important means of eliminating nuisance crickets. Keep all areas in and around buildings free of moisture, dense vegetation and weeds (1 foot band next to foundation). Mow lawns, cut weeds, and clean up garbage collection areas. Remove harborage sites such as piles of bricks, stones, rotting wood and other debris. Caulk and seal all cracks and crevices, especially near the ground level at basement windows and doorways.

Make sure that all windows and doors are tight-fitting with proper screening in place. Exclusion is an important factor as well as light discipline. Avoid bright mercury vapor lights in entryways and along structure perimeters since crickets will be attracted from far distances. Convert to sodium vapor yellow lights (less attractive to insects) instead of white, neon or mercury vapor lights.

Never store firewood next to the house foundation. Raise garbage cans off the ground if practical. Trash and dumpsters should be placed as far from the building as possible. Crickets are attracted to food in these areas. Crickets may be troublesome at trash dumps, grassy roadsides, pasture fields and wooded areas (breeding sites) before entering structures. Crickets can be killed with a fly swatter, collected by vacuum cleaner or broom and dustpan and discarded, if a few are present. Sometimes pet owners, who keep cricket-eating animals, accidently allow crickets to escape. These individuals establish an indoor population.

Heavy cricket migrations are hard to control. It may be necessary to use insecticides both inside and outside the home. Indoors, apply to cracks and crevices, baseboards, in closets, under stairways, around fireplaces, in basements and other hiding places. Use Demon WP, Demon Max, Dragnet, Cy-Kick CS & Niban Granuals. A can of aerosol CB 80 can kill occasional invaders.

Outdoors, when populations are large, treat a 5 to 20 foot swath around the house foundation with the above products. Niban Bait works very well on the exterior.

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