Crickets

The majority of species of this bugs live on the ground in dense vegetation or under logs and rocks, but others live in trees or are subterranean. Most species are nocturnal, spending the day in protected niches or relying on camouflage to avoid detection by predators. Crickets found (or at least heard!) in homes do not live there, but have entered the house from the outside. Unlike some species of cockroaches (e.g. the German cockroach, Blatella germanica), crickets do not live and reproduce in dwellings.

Common types

Worldwide there approximately 1,200 species of crickets. Some species have wings while others are wingless. Many crickets are well known for the “songs” they make (see “Biology”), and each species has a characteristic song. Some common North American species include: tree crickets (genus Oecanthus); the jumping bush crickets (Orocharis salator); the house cricket (Acheta domesticus), field crickets (Gryllus species) and camel crickets (Ceuthophilus and Tachycines species).

Biology

Most cricket species spend the winter in the egg stage. Eggs are usually laid in the ground or in vegetation. Tree crickets lay their eggs in bark or stems and frequently cause serious damage to twigs by their egg laying. Nymphs which hatch from the eggs look like miniature adult crickets with less-developed wings. Most crickets feed on plants.

Crickets are more often heard rather than seen. The “singing” is part of their courtship prior to mating. Male crickets have “scrapers” and “files” on the edges of their wings, and when these are rubbed together, a resonant area on the wings vibrates, producing the “song”. Their “ears” are actually sound-sensitive membranes located on the legs. In most species the males sing in order to attract females.

Health issues

There are no significant health issues related to crickets.

Cricket control

Unlike their relatives the grasshoppers, which can become serious pests destroying horticultural and agricultural plants, crickets are less significant pests. They’re usually just an annoyance when they are found in and around buildings.

Keeping windows and doors sealed and closed, or maintaining screens in good condition can reduce or prevent crickets’ entry into dwellings. If a cricket is found in the home, it is more practical to capture it and/or kill it using physical measures rather than applying an insecticide. To control nuisance crickets around buildings a variety of insecticide products are available in retail stores. Sprays can be applied:
(a) directly to any crickets that are present at the time of spraying; and/or
(b) as a barrier on the foundation and soil adjacent to the foundation. Read each product’s label completely to determine which product will best solve your problem, and follow the directions for use carefully. Some granular bait products may also be available. These are applied to outside areas where crickets are commonly observed, and kill the crickets when they are contacted.