Crickets may be one of the better parts of a summer evening when their songs rise up from the grass, but they are less than welcome if they move into your house. Some species of crickets, like the cave cricket, live in colonies and can cause an outright infestation during warmer months.
While mostly harmless, crickets are among the more annoying household pests because of the noises they make and, in the case of mole crickets, the potential damage they can inflict on your property. Besides, anyone who isn’t too fond of large spiders popping up in the basement or under the kitchen cabinets will be no more thrilled to find a cricket crawling around. End the nights of trying to find where that creaking, constant song is coming from in your house by learning how to get rid of crickets.
Identifying the Crickets in Your Home
Are the crickets in your house small, black, and shiny or large and mottled with long antennae? Knowing what kind of cricket you are dealing will help you come up with the best strategy for eliminating them. Camel crickets live in damp, dark places whereas field crickets are attracted to lights and prefer to escape back outside when given the chance; you will have to handle these different varieties with different elimination tactics.
DIY pest control experts agree: knowing the habits and life cycle of the particular cricket you are trying to get rid of can help you know what kind of pesticides to apply, which environmental changes to make, and where you can expect to find them hiding. A pest control expert in your area can help you identify the crickets in your house if you’re unsure.
House, Camel, and Field Crickets
Three common types of crickets found in houses are the field, house, and camel cricket. The house cricket can invade a building in droves. They are often identified by their chirping sound and yellowish body which can grow up to an inch long. These crickets tend to feed on clothing, though they will eat mostly anything else as well. House crickets tend to hide in small, warm places like under kitchen baseboards or around fireplace masonry.
Camel crickets cannot fly, are large, and have a brownish color. Unlike house crickets, camel crickets prefer damp, cooler areas like basement crawl spaces. They may also live under rocks and debris around the outside of the house. They, too, will feed on most dead or living plant and animal matter.
Field crickets are dark, nearly black, and tend to live in green areas like the garden or yard. Still, these crickets will come inside to escape extreme dampness, dryness, heat, or cold. They are attracted to lights in the dark and are especially likely to come into the house when lights are on at night.
All three cricket varieties may be tackled with pesticides. An organic or chemical pesiticide can be used around any place crickets may be entering your house: doorways, windows, or unsealed spaces around the foundation. You can also apply these insecticides, following the manufacturer’s guidelines, in places where crickets hide such as under cabinets, basement areas, or crawl spaces. Bait is another option– you can use bait to slowly poison the cricket population in your house. Bait is a particularly effective method on cricket types that colonize.
Mole crickets are a particular sort of problem for homeowners and gardeners since they live underground and tend to wreck the grass and plants above the areas where they tunnel. These pests are over an inch long with very thick bodies. Mole crickets feed on grass and are difficult to eliminate. Even if you get rid of one generation of adults, their eggs will likely hatch and create a new problem for you the next summer.
The key to mole cricket control: destroying their eggs before they can hatch. You can apply pesticides to the areas where mole crickets tend to lay their eggs, or you can use an organic solution like parasitic nematodes to get rid of mole cricket eggs without chemicals. For mole crickets that have already hatched, it is best to spray for them at the younger, nymph stage than after they’ve matured.
General Cricket Control Tips
Before you buy a jug of pesticides, figure out the kind of cricket in your home, or call a local exterminator, you can make small changes in your home or yard to start curbing your cricket problem. Keep plants and grass around your home shorter so crickets have fewer places to hide, keep your property clear of debris, and reduce dampness around the perimeter of your buildings. Seal up potential entry points for crickets and other pests. You can attract birds and other natural cricket predators to your property to reduce their over population.
If you would like to try a natural pest control solution before using chemical pesticides, consider setting out glue traps or sprinkling diatomaceous earth in the spots in or out of your house where you suspect crickets are getting in. Glue traps will stop crickets in their place and are usually non-toxic; once a cricket is caught, simply toss out the trap and replace it. Diatomaceous earth looks like gritty powder and is perfectly safe, even for human consumption, but is razor sharp to insects like crickets, puncturing and drying out their bodies.
Learning how to get rid of crickets is the first step toward eliminating these annoying pests from your house. If your best DIY efforts aren’t enough to tackle the problem, consider hiring a pest control expert who can assess the problem, apply any needed insecticides, and help you figure out which environmental changes will prevent future infestations.