Learn more about crickets

What are crickets?

Crickets are Orthopteran insects related to bush crickets, and more distantly related to grasshoppers. Scientists have identified and described more than 900 species of crickets. The cricket family, called Gryllidae, has a worldwide distribution that spreads north to lower Alaska and south to the end of South America. In nature, crickets are prey for many animals, from birds to bears, and they are a key part of the food chain. Crickets are also a popular feeder food for many pets, such as lizards and spiders. Humans eat crickets, too! In Southeast Asia, deep-fried crickets are a common snack food.

 

Field Cricket

What do crickets look like?

 
Crickets have mainly cylindrical bodies, round heads, and long antennae. Behind the head is a smooth, robust pronotum. The abdomen ends in a pair of long cerci; females have a long, cylindrical ovipositor. Diagnostic features include legs with 3-segmented tarsi; as with many Orthoptera, the hind legs have enlarged femora, providing power for jumping. The front wings are adapted as tough, leathery elytra, and some crickets chirp by rubbing parts of these together. The hind wings are membranous and folded when not in use for flight; many species, however, are flightless. The largest members of the family are the bull crickets, Brachytrupes, which are up to 5 cm (2 in) long.

 

Why do crickets sing?

Only male crickets sing, and they sing to attract a female cricket for a mate. They make their chirping song by either rubbing their wings together, or rubbing a leg against a wing. The scientific term for cricket chirping is called "stridulation."

Each cricket species has its own unique chirp. Females hear the males through their "ears" that are on the front side of their foreleg. That's a pretty weird place for an ear. The "ear" is a small pit or depression in the leg that has a thin membrane stretched over it. The ear picks up the vibrations of the chirps and helps the females find the males.

 Females lay their eggs one by one by inserting them into soil or plant stems. The put them there through a long ovipositer on the rear end of their body. Eggs are usually laid in late summer and fall, typically overwinter where they're laid in the dirt until they hatch in May or June. Baby crickets look just like adult crickets, except that they're significantly smaller.

 

What do crickets eat?

Just like humans, crickets are omnivores, feeding on both plants and meat. Being omnivorous, a cricket's diet is dependent on its surroundings. Therefore, if they make their way into your yard, these pests can cause significant damage. 

In your home garden, crickets can eat the stems and seeds of any plant such as corn, grass, barley, fruits, wheat or vegetable. When there is a heavy infestation, crickets can destroy a large number of plants very quickly.

In homes, crickets may eat a wide variety of things, including fabric items such as drapes, clothing, and furniture. They have strong jaws and teeth, and can easily chew through plastic bags, cardboard, and stored grains as well as cereals.

When food is scarce, a hungry cricket will eat anything that comes its way. Crickets in a colony may turn against other, smaller crickets and eat them when there is nothing else to eat.

 

Camel Cricket, aka Spider Cricket

 

What attracts crickets?

Crickets are attracted to your property for three reasons: Food, shelter and light. They can find food to eat in your lawn, garden and flowerbeds. In your basement or cellar, they will scavenge for more food, including other insects.

Outside, crickets will hide among foliage or under objects such as rocks, paver stones, lumber or garbage cans. They venture inside your home when normal nighttime temperatures drop, usually when autumn is approaching.

Nighttime light is another big attractant for crickets. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why many nocturnal insects are drawn toward light sources, but many cricket species are. This means that outdoor lights or bright lights visible through windows will likely attract them.

 

Do crickets have wings?

Even though crickets have wings, they rarely fly. Crickets mainly get around by jumping short distances.

 

Can crickets fly?

About 100 different species of crickets are found in the United States, so it should not be surprising to learn that some crickets are capable fliers, some rarely fly and others do not fly, at all. Crickets actually are generally more apt to use their large hind legs to jump and all of their legs to run rather than fly when they need to move from one location to another most of the time.

 

How to keep crickets out of your house

  • Caulk or repair cracks and gaps that are found in the foundation, around doors, ground-level windows, or other areas that crickets could use to enter indoors.
  • Cut weeds and tall grass growing near the home's foundation.
  • Remove firewood, brush, bricks and other objects or debris close to the house. Set garbage cans on wood blocks.
  • Reduce outside lighting to avoid attracting field crickets and house crickets.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights at night or use less attractive yellow lights instead of white, neon or mercury vapor lights.
 

What kills crickets?

Miche Pest Control provides exterminating services for crickets and other pests in Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC. We use a combination of highly effective treatments to get rid of crickets fast. Give us a call today!

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