The nighttime chirping sounds of crickets herald spring and summer in many areas of the United States. What you don’t necessarily hear is the chomping of these insects on plants, paper products, and fabrics such as linen, silk, wool, and cotton.
Three types of crickets are common: field crickets, house crickets, and camel crickets.
- Field crickets are almost an inch long, dark brown in color, and have rounded wings. They are common in yards with tall grasses and feed on a variety of plants, plant debris, and dead insects. Clumps of grass clippings and compost heaps are favored habitats. Attracted to light, once inside a home this cricket usually munches on food-soiled fabrics.
- House crickets are light brown with a yellow hue, and they have long, pointed wings the length of their ¾-inch body. Commonly found around garbage dumps, they are also strongly attracted to light. Like their field cricket cousins, house crickets in large numbers can damage silk and wool fabrics. They also feed on plants and dead or weakened insects.
- Camel crickets, also known as cave crickets, are tan with a distinct humpbacked shape. They are about ¾ inch long, and unlike field and house crickets, do not have wings. Also, the camel cricket prefers cool, damp, dark areas as opposed to lighted areas. Outdoors they are found in stacks of fireplace wood or other log piles, and under stones. They feed on plant debris in the yard, and indoors, will chew paper products. Damp, dark basements or crawl spaces are ideal habitats for camel crickets.
To control crickets, remove mulch or compost beds that are close to the house. Caulk or repair cracks around doors and foundations, and weather-seal low-level windows to eliminate access points. If camel crickets have invaded a basement, leave a light on for several days and nights to encourage them to find other quarters. If field or house crickets have entered the home, keep in mind that it may be difficult to find the point of entry or to find the insect, although you may be able to hear them chirping.
If simple management techniques don’t work, a flea spray for the yard will help lower cricket populations. For stubborn infestations indoors, use Adams™ Plus Flea & Tick Fogger to kill crickets in the home.
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