Crickets are one of the most common pests in the living spaces, basement, attics, and yards. Homeowners tend to have a bad experience with them – when they disturb them with chirping or when they make a sudden jump at them. These six-legged insects are discovered in different sizes, colors, and physiologies, based on their environment and habitat. They belong to the family of Gryllidae – an insect category with around 2,400 bugs. In this article, you can learn more about these pests, especially how to get rid of crickets for good.
Significance in other cultures
Crickets are one of those rare insects that are found in several myths and legends. In some legends, they are said to bring good luck and intelligence. Some even suggest that attacking them can trigger a calamity. Bible mentions that an Egyptian King was on the receiving hand of a locust infestation – part of the ten plagues.
While going to East Asia, you will be surprised to find crickets as captives where they are used for song production and other forms of entertainment. They also feature prominently in Chinese sports culture in the form of cricket fighting.
The singing of cricket is popular in Brazilian folklore. It is considered as a sign of a financial windfall or impending rain. In Brazilian history, a cricket’s chirping was referenced when the famous captain Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca and his crew found a piece of land at a critical moment.
In Barbados, when a cricket produces a loud noise, it signifies that the house will be blessed with money. Thus, such a cricket is neither killed nor evicted. Similarly, quieter crickets signal death or illness.
Crickets as food
People from China, Mexico, Ghana, Thailand, and other regions consume crickets. It is fried and cooked in a wide range of cuisines.
The position of crickets as an edible insect has become a hot debate around the world. A trial at the University of Wisconsin-Madison discovered that it can enhance the gut microbiome in humans.
Similarly, it was found out that water-soluble extracts in insects like crickets contain five times more the antioxidant nutrients than a fresh orange juice has.
What are the habitat of crickets?
Crickets are a global plague; they can be found almost anywhere. Since they don’t react well to colder climates, they can’t survive in an area that is located higher than 55-degree latitude. Malaysia is home to the most diverse cricket population around the world. Once, authorities discovered around 88 different crickets at a single spot.
Why do crickets chirp?
Different sounds are generated by various cricket species. For example, the chirping of mole cricket can touch 88 decibels, while that of the field cricket can hit 100 decibels. To get your head around decibels, keep in mind that a standard car horn covers around 110 decibels, whereas the whistling of a referee can touch 125 decibels at most.
When a male cricket rubs their front wings, serrations on edges of the wings come in contact against a sharp edge. This process is known as stridulation, which helps them in mating with female crickets. During the production of this sound, the wings of the cricket are elevated. Each rubbing effect creates a “pulse”; it is affected by factors like temperature.
What are the types of crickets?
The following are some of the most common types of crickets.
Cave cricket is also known as a camel cricket. They look similar to a spider because of their long back legs. They can grow as long as an inch in length and have an arched back. Unlike other types of crickets, they don’t have wings. Interestingly, this cricket does not produce any chirping.
On the flip side, they jump quite high – around three feet. This is why they often strike fear in the hearts of people and cause them to scream in moist places like shower stalls and basements.
Since these crickets are native in deep forests, caves, and damp, dark places, they are called cave crickets. Usually, they eat mold and mildew. Damp crawlspaces and basements often turn out to be their breeding grounds.
They are also found in wet stone, rotting wood, drains, and open sewers. As long as gaps and cracks in your home are not sealed, especially when vents and drain are without mesh covers, cave crickets can invade your home easily.
If the crickets in your home chirp heavily and seem to have a black color, most probably they are field crickets. Typically, they live around farm fields and yards. Similarly, you can also find them in mulch, leaves, and debris close to your home.
Earlier, it was believed that field cricket in North America belonged to a single category. Over time, a lot of types of field crickets have been identified.
Sometimes, these crickets are used for food and bait, as well. Like other crickets, they also exploit holes and cracks to enter your home. Sometimes, they may jump via open doors and windows.
Expect this tiny fiend to come during the autumn season when the weather becomes chilly, and their food sources are scarce. They can grow as much as an inch. In homes, they feast on small bugs, plants, and various natural materials. In the wild, they consume grain, seed, and insects.
Fortunately, these crickets are unable to reproduce in homes. Hence, you are not going to find their younglings in any corner. Their life span is hardly a few weeks.
House crickets come with gray or tan color. They are always in the lookout for warm spots in your home where they can build their nests. Originally, these crickets were found in Southeast Asia. With time, they have spread to all parts of the world.
As these crickets are proper protein, it is not uncommon to see them being raised for food. In Japan and China, they are also kept as pets. In the North American region, they are used as fish bait or pet food.
House crickets are fond of liquids like vinegar and beer and fermenting fruits. They devour fabrics, dog food, and food by humans. They also come with wings and can grow to an inch.
The life expectancy of a house cricket is only a few months as long as they get to live in a warm environment. They can also mate and reproduce in your house. Thus, you can find eggs in damp spots in your home.
The name of this cricket is attributed to the first Mormon settlement, which was located in Utah. It became notorious when a large number of crickets infested it. While it is biologically, a cricket, it appears more like a katydid. These crickets can grow as much as three inches in length.
Mormon crickets can be identified by their purple, green, brown, or black color. Depending on their swarming phase, they change their colors. During this phase, a female cricket lays a lot of eggs in the soil. They eat vegetation and grass.
How does a cricket infestation begin?
In the US, researchers have unearthed around 100 types of crickets. A considerable chunk of them can be found in the east of the Rocky Mountains. These pests thrive better in humid and warm climates. This is why if your home is situated on the Eastern Coast or within some areas of Southern California, it is likely to get affected with a cricket infestation.
Sometimes, crickets get drawn to homes when a heavy rainstorm strikes. However, mostly, they infiltrate homes in the fall season due to two reasons. Firstly, their eggs hatch in the spring and early summer, hence by the fall season, they are grown enough. Secondly, they eat plants and grass. Thus, when plants die as the weather becomes cooler, crickets seek food and warmth in residential properties.
Crickets also inhabit places with trees, bushes, and long grasses. This means that if you have a home with grassy flower beds, wood, or huge piles of bricks, it is prone to get a cricket infestation. Some of their species tend to nest in tiny a crevice, which is why it thrives in attics, garages, and cluttered spots in homes.
What damage can crickets do?
Crickets can do more damage than you can expect them to.
They bite humans
There are two multipurpose jaws in crickets; because of its omnivorous nature. This means that it may not only stop at eating insects and plants, but it may bite humans too. Crickets don’t come with powerful claws, which is why they can’t make a hole in the human skin.
However, some species of crickets such as crazy red crickets and house crickets have forged a nasty reputation due to their dangerous bites. Usually, cricket bites when you hold it with a tight grip. The severity of the bite varies according to its size. Thus, the bite from a larger cricket can cause significant pain. Sometimes, repeated excruciating pinches and bites can even trigger a skin reaction. Here are some common crickets in terms of bites.
- House Cricket – They can bite, but it is not strong enough.
- Camel Cricket – They don’t bite at all as they don’t have any fangs.
- Locust – They bite rarely, but when they do, it inflicts a lot of pain to the victim. Symptoms like red swelling and itching affect the bitten area.
They transmit diseases
The influx of crickets can affect other animals; they are capable of transmitting diseases. Crickets feed on the remains of dead insects. In this way, they ingest dangerous pathogens. As a result, if you have purchased such an infected cricket as your pet food, it can pose a risk to the life of your pet. Often, these diseases then spread from one pet to the other.
They wreak havoc in homes
When field crickets remain outside, they reside in woodpiles, vegetation, and mulch – especially those close to the home. They consume fruits, vegetables, insects, garbage, papers, and soiled fabrics. As soon as they can’t get outside vegetation, they move towards your home.
After gaining entry, they will try to find similar food sources. In case they can’t find it, they will target dry pet food and crumbs to survive. They can then target any rubber, wood, leather, paper, fur, and fabric in your home. They can often hide in papers, books, clothing, and old rags. When items like fabric are tainted with urine, sweat, food stains, and bodily secretions, crickets are attracted to them.
Crickets have become notorious due to the extent of damage inflicted on the wallpapers, particularly the older ones. They consume starch from the wallpaper glue, spoiling the quality of the wallpaper.
The damage done by crickets depends on their numbers. Therefore, you need to get rid of crickets before things get out of control.
How do you get rid of crickets?
If you are unable to get a night of sound sleep, often the culprit turns out to be a cricket. They can frustrate the hell out of homeowners, especially ones suffering from sleep orders. Usually, crickets flourish when they find dark places with low temperatures. The following solutions can help you with removing crickets from your home.
Sealing the openings
You must follow a strategic approach – think about how you can block their entry points. Little cracks and gaps allow them to infiltrate your home with utmost ease, especially in the night; the bright lights in your home attract them.
If you have found crickets outside your home, make sure that your windows and doors are closed. Ask a home maintenance expert to seal gaps and cracks. Sometimes, crickets still manage to squeeze under the closed doors. To address this issue, you can purchase an attachment that is fastened to the bottom of your door to hold off crickets. You can close small crevices by caulking windows. Similarly, you have to see to it that your vents have screens.
Trapping with molasses
If you cannot prevent crickets from entering your home, you can lay down a powerful trap to nab them. The smell of molasses excites crickets and lures them towards it. Use some water to dilute molasses and pour the mixture in a jar. Now place the jar in a cricket-infested region in the outdoors and indoors and observe how these noisy creatures are silenced forever when they get into this soupy, sweet mixture. Once in a while, make sure that you clean these jars; full jars of dead crickets tend to excite the gas reflex. If you don’t have any molasses, beer is a good alternative.
Getting a pet
If you are considering getting a pet like a cat, then you can also use them against pests like crickets. Pets are not only great as stress relievers, but they can also wage war against crickets. Cats and dogs come with an instinct that makes them hunt insects like crickets and rodents and prevent them from coming to your home. Unlike humans, they have a terrific set of tracking skills that ultimately leads you to the hideouts of crickets. Have them loose regularly so they can run around your home and kill crickets.
Sprinkling diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous Earth is a white powder, which comes from microscopic algae. It is used in skincare and food industry. Aside from that, it can work as a surprisingly effective insecticide against crickets.
After singling out the cricket-infested areas in your home, sprinkle the powder over them. The reason it is so potent is that it inflicts a dehydrating impact on crickets. As a result, soon, they are on their way to a quick death. If you have pets, then you don’t need to worry; it does not affect pets. However, make sure that it is not sprinkled in wet areas as water can decrease its efficiency.
Laying a pitfall trap
Pitfall traps are met with great success in catching all types of intrusive bugs. They have slippery edges due to which crickets fall into it and become trapped in quick. Soapy water is poured into the base of the pit; it ensures that the cricket drowns and dies easily.
You can put these traps in any moist and warm areas in your home. Other than soapy water, you can also utilize diluted ethanol.
Cutting down clutter
Whether it is your yard or your living room, clutter causes crickets to come into your home. They exploit clutter to keep themselves hidden from homeowners. Once the clutter is identified, they make way into it in huge numbers. Subsequently, it can get quick tricky to get rid of them. Hence, it is recommended to reduce clutter and organize your areas around the home and yard properly.
Using a soapy mixture
The mixture of water and liquid soap is not effective in cleaning only; it can work as a deadly poison against crickets. They receive heavy cell damage as the solution disrupts their shells.
All you need is to take some water and soap, mix them well, and pour it into a spray bottle. Now, go on a spraying rampage and spray it directly on crickets. It must be enough to cover their bodies, so they can be killed in a quick time.
Working on landscaping
Long grasses and shrubs can boost the number of crickets in your vicinity. Your shrubs must be clean and short. Make sure that you cut down the grasses with periodic intervals, so crickets can’t seek refuge in them. Similarly, take out old logs, mulch, and dead leaf piles out of your lawn to protect it from a cricket invasion.
Using a spray
Bug sprays are widely available in convenience stores. Go for online reviews and pick an online brand that is mighty effective against crickets. Bear in mind that a bug spray is toxic for humans, so you have to be careful.
If you don’t want to invest in a bug spray, then you can make a homemade bug spray. To do this, you need to mix red chili sauce and red chili powder. Now, use water to mix them and wait for the next day. Apply the necessary filtering to remove fine particles. Next, add more water with some drops of liquid dish soap. And now, you have your homemade bug spray. Since this spray is not toxic for plants, spray it on the plants in your garden, especially the dead ones.
On a similar note, you can also go for pepper spray. Pepper spray is used against malicious individuals who may attempt to rob or harass you. However, they are also quite useful in killing crickets.
Growing nitrogen-fixing plants
New flowers and plants are often damaged by crickets. To stop them from feasting on it, you can plant nitrogen-fixing plants. These special types of plants take nitrogen gas from the air and collect it for their roots. Some of these include legumes, beans, and peas. Growing sweet potatoes, cilantro, clover, and garlic also inflicts a negative impact on crickets and makes them go away.
Pests like crickets are tempted to go near bright lights. If your windows and porch have bright lights, then the situation can worsen as crickets can easily notice them from a distance.
What you can do is replace them with yellow-colored or LED lights. The former repel crickets and makes their concentration go down the drain. Sodium vapor lights can also serve as a reliable and productive solution to avoid crickets.
When possible, keep the outdoor lights off and use natural lighting or torch to fulfill your outdoor requirements.
Setting sticky traps
Glue boards or sticky traps are better at trapping crickets than they are in catching rats and mice. Get some cornmeal and put it in the middle of the trap – it serves as bait for luring crickets. Now set these traps in offending regions along walls, close to moisture and heat sources, in corners, and known places having a lot of crickets. In a short span, they can become deadly graveyards for crickets. Since these traps are non-toxic, you don’t have to concern yourself about any damage that can happen to others.
Taking help from predators
You can also get assistance from lizards and sprays; they love to feast on crickets. If you can make them thrive in your yard, and keep an adequate check on them, they can eliminate crickets from your home.
Emptying your home from trash
If you are one of those homeowners, who lets trash sit in the home for days, then you have invited crickets to ransack your home. This is why it is crucial to keep your home clean and discard trash daily.
Areas with high moisture allow crickets to thrive and breed at a rapid rate. Check the humidity of rooms in your home and use a dehumidifier in a bid to repel crickets. By building up vents, you can increase air circulation and eliminate moisture from attics.
Removing the eggs
If crickets begin laying eggs in your home, the infestation can go pretty bad. Use a vacuum cleaner – one with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter – to vacuum your home. These appliances are quite useful when it comes to eliminating eggs from the carpet or any other spot. Afterward, use a sealed-plastic bag to throw away these vacuumed remains. You can also use cricket sprays for killing their eggs. Spray over the baseboards as it is a common spot of eggs.
How do you deal with crickets in the basement?
If you have got crickets in your basement, then the solutions mentioned above are not enough. Instead, you have achieved greater success by following this step-by-step procedure.
- Begin by vacuuming the basement. This can help with catching the ones in plain sight.
- Use Intice or any similar bait. Next, sprinkle it in your entire basement. Orthoboric acid is used in these bait products to kill off crickets. Additionally, it can also help you with eliminating cockroaches, ants, millipedes, and silverfish.
- Get a cricket trap and sticky paper. Such an adhesive material is useful in trapping crickets as it glues their legs to the paper. In dark spots of basements, the smart addition of sticky paper works terrifically. You can also use traps to figure out the entry points in your basement.
- After you find all the small cracks and entries, seal them off. However, this is a complex process, as basements are filled with too many access points. As long as these openings remain open, you can never conduct effective pest control in your basements.
- Proceed further with a molasses trap that we built earlier. Add it in an open dish so crickets can easily get it.
This strategy can help you to get rid of crickets within a few days.