Camel crickets are a type of cricket that can become a huge annoyance – especially because they jump at you. While they are not particularly known for biting or spreading disease, these crickets can leap at pets and even people. This can scare people to go off balance and fall down, causing injury.
So why do camel crickets jump at you? Caves are the natural habitat of camel crickets. Since caves generally don’t have a lot of lighting, the crickets never developed sharp eyesight. As camel crickets have very limited vision, they cannot easily differentiate between a predator and someone who is not a threat. In order to avoid taking any chances, these creatures have developed a natural defense mechanism where they leap into the creature that is getting too close.
In their natural environment, jumping usually works and the predator backs off, fearing an attack from the crickets. As they begin to settle on human properties and households, camel crickets have brought their natural tendency with them. Jumping into the potentially threatening creature does not cost the camel cricket anything, but it could save its life if the creature withdraws.
Now, let’s go a little further on what camel crickets are.
What are camel crickets?
Camel crickets are named after their humpbacked appearance which looks similar to the hump of a camel. They are also called spider crickets because they can be mistaken for spiders from a distance.
Generally, these crickets only infest caves and damp, cool areas underneath rocks, damp leaves and rotting logs. They can make their way inside your home and settle in the yard, garage or other areas of the property.
Unlike regular crickets, they do not have the sound producing organs and live quietly. This makes it difficult to know when these crickets settle on a property. The adult males of this species also do not have wings. Instead, they have long, flexible limbs that they use to leap like a frog. This is a defense mechanism used by the camel crickets to frighten predators away.
Identifying camel crickets
Although camel crickets may look like a spider, they have clear distinct features that make them easy to identify. Like most other insects, camel crickets have six legs instead of eight that you might find on a spider. Their legs are thin and long, with a knee joint that is well above their body. The back legs in particular are longer and have a shape that looks like cricket legs.
Camel crickets are light to dark brown in color and often sprayed with dark bands on some segments of their body. They have two long protruding antennae and about half inch to one and a half inch in size.
Lastly, their backs are humped like the shape of a camel instead of flat or wide.
What do camel crickets eat and where do they live?
Common camel crickets prefer to live in damp and dark places, just like other types of insects. When they settle inside your home, you will commonly find them in storage areas, bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements and garages.
If camel crickets settle outside your home, you will find them in moist places. They can live in areas of tall grass, weeds, trees, caves, holes in the ground and piles of wood or stone. If you leave out a pile of firewood in the rain don’t be surprised if it becomes infested with camel crickets.
Like other types of crickets, camel crickets are most active during night hours. They don’t have strong vision but their long antennae give them the ability to feel their way through their surroundings in the dark. They feed on mold, algae and other insects.
Life cycle and reproduction
A camel cricket goes through three stages in its life; egg, nymph and adult. The camel cricket’s lifecycle lasts one to two years on average. This is longer than most other types of ants and pests. However, despite its longer lifecycle, camel crickets are somewhat more tolerable because they do not pose any real threats to humans. They don’t swarm an area, do not bite and do not cause harmful disease.
Although they don’t form colonies, camel crickets do have a tendency to live together. On its own, a camel cricket is more or less harmless. But in case of an infestation, these creatures can cause real damage to property such as furniture and fabrics.
The younger camel crickets look similar to adults but they are smaller in size. They mate during early to middle spring. The mated female deposits her eggs outdoors in the soil or deep within crevices. The eggs hatch within a couple of months, by early fall. They turn into adults over the winter.
Generally, a camel cricket infestation is unlikely to occur inside your home because the female camel crickets do not lay eggs indoors. Even if you find dozens of crickets indoors, it is not very likely that the infestation started there. A more likely explanation is that they are finding their way into your property through gaps and holes in your walls or foundation.
Do camel crickets bite?
Camel cricks do not have sharp fangs or any stingers. They also do not have any poison sacs. This means they don’t pose any direct health threats to humans.
However, these creatures can become a big nuisance if they gain entry into your home and reproduce. Some species of camel crickets can damage clothing and other fabrics like curtains by poking holes into them.
Problems caused by camel crickets
- While camel crickets don’t cause any direct problems, most people find them creepy and a major nuisance. These crickets generally invade a property in large numbers and they can multiply within a few seasons. If these creatures get into common areas or bedrooms, they can be very irritating to have around. Camel crickets can crawl up on to your bed and hide under the sheets. They can jump on you when you lift the sheets or try to go to bed which can be a scary experience for anyone.
- Camel crickets are also a nuisance in terms of their dietary habits. Out in the nature, these insects feed on mold, algae, and fungus. They can also eat plants and other insects. When they settle inside a house, they will usually popular areas that are moist and isolated like sewers, drain pipes and garages. These areas are good places for the growth of mold, algae, and fungus that is used as the food source by these creatures. However, the thing that makes them annoying is their tendency to chew on fabrics. A few species of camel crickets can make holes in curtains, clothing bedding and under the furniture.
- The self-defense mechanism of jumping at people is probably the biggest problem people face with these crickets. They don’t make any noise and could climb through gaps inside doors and windows. When you walk through that door or open the window, the cricket can get triggered and jump on you. If you have a bad heart or if this happens inside the kitchen when you are making dinner it can cause an unnecessary accident.
In short, it is probably a good idea not to allow camel crickets to settle inside your home.
Getting rid of camel crickets
Camel crickets do not build a colony like ants. In most cases, their numbers stay below a certain level. They prefer to remain in crawl spaces, chimneys, and sewer systems. However, if the population becomes large, they can venture out of their safe zones and invade your living areas, bedrooms and kitchen etc.
If the camel cricket problem is getting out of hand, there are a couple of ways you can deal with them. The first thing that you need to do is to eliminate or reduce the conditions that are attracting these insects to settle and grow inside your home. Moisture plays a big role in this.
Fix water leakages, damaged gutter systems and any other cricket breeding conditions inside or around your property. You may also want to install fans and dehumidifiers inside your property. Do what you can to make the interior of your property less comfortable for the crickets and this will drive them away.
Once this step is done, you will need to find and seal the entry points that are letting these creatures get inside your home. If you have eliminated the breeding conditions for them and still find camel crickets on your property, it can only happen because these insects are finding a way inside your property. Look for holes, gaps, and other cracks in your foundation and exterior walls. Make sure to get them sealed shut.
If the problem persists despite taking safety measures, it may be time to call in the experts. Professional exterminators know all about the breeding and living patterns of unwanted pests. They could carry out the necessary remedies to get rid of the pests for you.
Where do camel crickets come from? Native to East Asia, camel crickets were introduced into the U.S. more than 100 years back. The most extensive study on the species was done in the South, but they have made their way up the East Coast recently.
Can camel crickets climb walls? Whilst camel crickets do not chirp, they can crawl on you or jump on you while you are sleeping. And some would say that’s far worse than chirping. Camel crickets have a significant listing of dietary staples. In nature, their preference is mold, algae, and fungus, but they can also eat plants and other pests.