Crickets Crickets are extremely varied in their habitat and
distribution. Two common species which are most likely to become household nuisance pests are the house cricket and the field cricket.
The house cricket was introduced from Europe and is
about 3/4" in length, light brown to yellowish in color
with three darker bands behind the head. It completes its entire life cycle indoors and is often active year round.
Field crickets have dark brown or black, 1" long,
robust bodies. They normally reside outdoors, but will often invade homes in the fall when their natural food supply is depleted. Fortunately, field crickets cannot adapt to indoor conditions and will generally die off before mid-winter. Outdoors, the adult crickets may be present until the first heavy frost.
All crickets deposit their eggs singly; the house
cricket in indoor cracks and crevices, the field cricket
in soil or debris. The field crickets pass the winter in
the egg stage. In the spring the immature crickets
(nymphs) hatch from the eggs and begin to feed. They will molt 5-9 times before maturing. The actual rate of growth and development is regulated by the temperature and availability of food. The house cricket generally completes its life cycle in 38-45 weeks; the field cricket in 9-15 weeks.
Field crickets are prevalent in areas near refuse
piles and other areas of moisture. House crickets like warmth and are often associated with fireplaces, furnaces and the like. Crickets are nocturnal and will migrate to lights. Their food consists primarily of soft plant material, although they will feed on some animal materials. In the home they often feed on stored products, especially soiled fabrics. Cotton, rayon, linen, wool, silk and furs are particularly susceptible, and they shred the fabric rather than consuming it entirely.
Crickets are well known for their singing (chirping).
Virtually all of the singing is done by the males. There are special songs for fighting, sounding an alarm, and courtship. The sound is produced by stroking a tooth-like "file" and a ridge-like "scraper" on the wings against each other. The sound is amplified by the wing surfaces. The number of chirps produced by a given individual varies with the temperature, being faster at higher temperatures.
Crickets only rarely warrant chemical controls, as
they frequently fall prey to birds and spiders.
Sanitation is of paramount importance in cricket control; all areas in and around buildings must be kept free of debris and moisture. It is also important to see that all screens, windows and door close tightly. Caulk or otherwise seal all cracks and crevices, especially those at or near ground level. Seedlings and transplants in flower beds and gardens can be protected by covering them with cheesecloth or netting.
For a complete listing of suggested control options
for all home, yard and garden insect pests contact your local Extension Service, found under local government in the phone book.
Read and follow instructions on the pesticide label.
Heed all warnings. Check with your physician if you have any concerns regarding your personal health risk.
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