During the summer, swarms of crickets invade my neighborhood. You can hear them chirping about all night, but when they get into the house, they become a real problem! I did some research on how to get rid of them and actually managed to clear my house of the infestation on my own.
So, how do you get rid of crickets? Well, there are plenty of ways to do it, including pre-made traps and DIY bait like molasses. Bug sprays and chemicals work well on them too. I took great solace in knowing that it wasn’t hard to get rid of these creatures, as long as you catch them and deal with them early.
Before getting into the method of how to get rid of them in more detail, you need to be able to identify these creatures. Once you have caught one red-handed, chewing on your furniture or calling out to its mates, you need to take action immediately:
Crickets are somewhat large insects that can grow up to an inch long. They are between a brown and yellow color and can be identified by their unique large bent back legs and dark brown markings on their heads. Crickets have wings that lie flat on their backs and long thin antennae on their heads. Baby crickets known as nymphs don’t have wings but look similar to their adult versions.
Crickets are given the title of “house crickets” because, well, they somehow find their way into houses. During summer, crickets can be found outdoors, especially near dumpsters and garbage. These crickets can be found in swarms of thousands if there is a warm light near these areas. They are attracted to heat and moisture.
However, in the wintertime, these crickets want to look for the same warmth and moisture which they can no longer find outside. That is why they make their way into homes and sheds while looking for shelter.
House crickets hide and sleep during the day in dark, warm, and humid places until they can come out to feed in the night time. During their rest, they like to be on vertical surfaces like the walls in your house or on poles outside.
Crickets eat everything from plants to dead insects and even live ones. Crickets have cannibalistic tendencies as well; they are known to eat weaker crickets or any other crickets that come in their way if they are very hungry. Once these pests make their way into your home, they also like to feast on fabric like the one that’s on furniture and clothes. Dirty laundry that is moist with sweat is an especially delectable treat for crickets.
House crickets don’t carry diseases that people can get; however, they are very destructive to property. These little creatures will create holes in fabric furniture and clothing. They especially like to eat cotton, wool, silk, and synthetic fabrics. If you have a whole lot of crickets, you might start seeing parts of your carpet missing – so get rid of them as soon as you can.
Getting rid of them as soon as possible is also important because of how quickly they mate and multiply. Females lay between 5 and 10 eggs a day; so imagine if you have 10 female crickets; that’s an average of 70 eggs a day, so just think of the damage that could be done over a week. These eggs hatch within 2 weeks, and you will have a sea of tiny new housemates running around to worry about in one week.
So, as I mentioned above, getting rid of these creatures is important to do as soon as you realize you have an infestation. Your first step to catching them is to identify where they are hiding. Wait for night time when you can hear them chirping and follow the sounds. This could be inside your house or around your house in the patio or driveway.
As you hear the sounds and get closer, keep in mind that the crickets will be alerted that you are coming and will quiet down. Try to focus on where the sound is coming from and then look in dark, moist areas where they could be hiding. This could be behind furniture, near plants, under planters, and other such places. Once you find them, you know you are near their nest. Then, it’s time to get rid of them.
There are a few different ways to get rid of crickets. There are DIY methods, chemical bait, bug sprays, traps, and plain old vacuuming. Here they are in more detail:
The most effective DIY method is done with molasses. Crickets are attracted to the sweet smell of molasses and will immediately come out to try to feast on it. To try this method, get a bowl that is shallow enough for the bugs to jump into. Make a solution of molasses and water and fill the bowl with a few inches of it. The bugs will jump into the bowl and get stuck. Empty the bowl often and replace it with a new solution to attract the remaining crickets until you are satisfied that they are gone.
Chemical bait is available at home supply and hardware stores. This bait works similarly to molasses, but it is poisonous, so it will kill the crickets as they jump into the bowl. With this method, you need to ensure that no pets or children go near the chemical as it can be dangerous.
Either use an all-purpose bug spray or one made specifically for crickets. Use it on areas where you have seen them hiding. Also, use this spray near windows and openings in your home where these crickets can enter from. Bug sprays are even effective in killing cricket eggs.
Once you have identified the areas where the crickets are residing, you can place traditional sticky traps to catch them. Either make your own traps with butter paper and wax (which is sweet and will attract the crickets) or buy pre-made traps to catch them. Once you have enough crickets, throw them out and replace the trap to catch more.
Vacuuming up crickets is an effective way to get rid of them, but you want to make sure that once you vacuum them, you either kill them or release them somewhere far away from your home; otherwise, they might come back. Vacuuming is especially effective if you have found cricket eggs. You want to get rid of the eggs before they hatch!
Of course, the first sign of a cricket infestation is seeing crickets in your home. However, if you suspect that you have crickets, but haven’t actually seen one, there are other ways to tell as well.
Your first instinct should be to listen out for the signature sounds of crickets. Male crickets make a very distinct chirping sound by rubbing their wings together. This sound is meant to attract its female counterparts, but you should keep an ear out so you can catch these little pests. This sound will most likely be heard in the night because crickets are nocturnal.
Now, if you have heard the sounds and still haven’t actually managed to see a cricket, you might be thinking that the sound is coming from outside of your home. There’s one more thing you can check to see if you have a cricket infestation. Check your furniture fabric, specifically in the corners and edges. If they look frayed like they have been chewed, you’ve got your proof!
Also, keep an eye out for cricket eggs. These eggs are small and elongated, much like a rice grain and similar in size too. They are yellowish-white in color. These eggs could become a big problem because if they hatch, you’ll have a lot more crickets to worry about.
The best way to avoid crickets is to make sure that they do not enter your home in the first place. Crickets can get through the smallest openings and cracks, so you need to properly seal your windows and doors if you know your area is prone to cricket infestations. You can caulk your windows and cracks in your walls, buy attachments that seal the bottom of your doors and make sure any vents in your home have screens.
Next, since you know that crickets are attracted to moisture, and garbage, make sure your garbage cans are properly sealed, so you don’t give them a place to rest and breed. Another place crickets love making nests is in tall grass and plants. Try not to keep planters near the openings of your house, and make sure your grass is mowed regularly. Keep and mulch and compost piles away from your house as well, and make sure your drain pipes are cleaned.
First, make sure that your home is sealed, as I have mentioned above. After that you can take these measures to ensure that crickets won’t come back on your property:
Avoid any bright lights that attract crickets. Instead, stick to low-light bulbs specifically made to keep insects away that are available in home and hardware stores.
Lastly, you should know that lizards, cats, and birds are crickets’ natural predators. Don’t shoo them away or get rid of them; they will handle part of the problem for you.