From the moment you begin hearing chirping outside of your window you will likely wonder how to get rid of crickets. The problem with crickets usually begins in late spring and ends right before or shortly after the first freeze. While these creatures may seem harmless, they can cause a lot of damage both inside and outside of your home and to your crops or gardens. Below you will find information on how to get rid of crickets along with other helpful tidbits to aide in the removal process.
Types of crickets
There are three main species of crickets. When trying to decide how to get rid of crickets it is important to know which type you are dealing with. Below you will find more information on each species and what they look like.
- Field crickets. When you hear the the word cricket, most people are referring to field crickets. They are roughly an inch long and are either black or dark brown depending on the specific species. Males and females look incredibly similar except for the females have an ovipositor for laying eggs when it is time. The field crickets are attracted to light and try to avoid completely dark places. You can get an idea of the temperature by counting how many chirps you hear in 15 seconds and adding 40 to it. These crickets are the known for their “singing” and are the most common species across the United States.
- Camel crickets. These insects are wingless and tan. While they are roughly the same size as field crickets, the two look nothing alike. The camel crickets prefer cool and dark conditions, which is why they are sometimes referred to as “cave” crickets. Generally they are found in caves or basements and prefer to feed on paper products over anything with fabric.
- House crickets. Similar to field crickets, the only noticeable difference between the two is their color. House crickets are yellowish and have three distinguishable bands on their bodies. They are attracted to light and are often found around landfills and garbage containers or dumpsters. House crickets have wings as well and use them to do the “mating song” for their females, just like the field crickets.
Cricket life cycle
In late spring the crickets usually hatch and begin their journey of maturity. May is typically when you will begin hearing and seeing them around. The eggs hatch and it takes about a month and a half to fully develop. Once the crickets have grown, they will search for a mate. The field cricket males will make a mating song using their wings and the females will come running. Once they choose a partner, the male and the female will mate. After mating, the female cricket will inject her ovipositor into the soil and deposit up to 50 eggs. Over the course of the summer and into the fall, a female cricket can lay up to 400 eggs.
Crickets only live one season, no matter when they hatch. They will not survive the cold winters and most are dead even before the first freeze. The eggs the female cricket laid over the course of the season will survive the winter and the nymphs will emerge the following spring.
Why crickets are a problem
Usually people don’t associate crickets with anything other than annoyance, but they are wrong. If you are a farmer or gardener, you may find yourself with a problem when crickets come into your area and begin feasting on your crops or plants. Learning how to get rid of crickets is important for farmers and homeowners, especially in places where crops and gardening help feed the town.
Crickets become a problem when they eat seeds that have been planted. Usually they are good about cleaning up weed seeds and other pesky things, but sometimes they do a lot of damage to farmer crops. They also have been known to tear apart home gardens and flower beds. When the temperature starts to change, some of the crickets will attempt to make their way into homes. If they do end up inside your home, they could do some serious damage to your carpeting and furniture. They are highly attracted to fabric saturated with food or perspiration. Also, clutter and damp conditions are appealing to crickets that enter your home. Basements and crawl spaces are often where they are found.
How to get rid of crickets
There are several methods on how to get rid of crickets. While some recommend one or the other, it is basically trial and error for what will work for your specific problem. The process of getting rid of crickets can be a pain, but the damage they can cause will far outweigh the initial cost of removal.
Identify the cricket species you are dealing with. Once you know which of the three species of crickets have invaded your area, you will be able to effectively start the removal process. Camel crickets cause the lesser damage of the three but still need to dealt with as soon as an issue is noticed.
Outdoor removal of crickets
- Repair the cracks or entrances the crickets are coming in from. If you have caulk available make sure you check around the foundation of the home and also around the window sills. Make sure that all of the debris around the cracks is removed as well.
- Make sure your lawn is kept at a reasonable level and weeds are taken care of. The crickets like the higher grass because it is easier for them to hide. You can use a weed killer as needed, just make sure you follow the directions on the packaging.
- Remove debris from the yard. This means you will need to do a serious clean-up around the yard. Bricks and other items should be kept away from the house because they often harbor crickets underneath them with their ability to keep damp and cool conditions. Garbage cans should be placed on raised levels to avoid harboring crickets.
- Keep the lighting outside to a minimum. If you are already home for the night, it is important that you turn off the outside light. Field crickets and house crickets are greatly attracted to lights and it will draw them closer to you.
- Spray around your home. Several products are available on the market to purchase. Make sure you check to be sure the product is safe to be around children or animals, especially if your pets spend a lot of time outside. Spray the entire perimeter of your home and around the fence line if possible.
Indoor removal of crickets
- Clean up. Crickets will be attracted to cluttered areas. Make sure you do a thorough cleaning throughout your home including the basement and crawl spaces.
- Use a dehumidifier. This will dry out the damp areas where crickets may be hiding. It will force them out of your home in search of better living conditions. This is important for basements and garages but also may be used in the bathrooms and laundry rooms as well.
- Sticky traps. You will be able to buy these at the hardware store. Generally they are used for mice or roaches but work well for crickets too. The good news about using these is that once the crickets are removed, usually there will not be new crickets hatching. Since the female crickets lay their eggs in the soil, once you have killed the ones inside your home you don’t have to worry about a recurrence.
- Insecticides. This is not recommended but has been used on occasion for bigger problems. Make sure your home is free of pets or children when you use this. Because the likelihood of crickets infesting your home in large numbers is unlikely, only a little bit of this will be needed. Read the directions thoroughly to keep everything safe.
Learning how to get rid of crickets and keep them away is important, especially for people who live in rural areas in the country. Crickets mainly become a problem in farm areas where there isn’t a lot of people living close to one another. Farmers have to spray their crops with pesticides sometimes to keep the crickets at bay. If you can catch the problem early enough and alter the areas so they become less appealing to the crickets, you will likely not have an issue with loss of crop or plants. Home infestations are less likely than those of a crop, but occasionally they do occur.
The majority of how to get rid of crickets methods come from natural removal rather than insecticides. If you can avoid using chemicals on your crops or in your home, it is advisable. Remembering to do the little things that will throw the crickets off kilter will be the most effective in the removal process. The good news is once the season passes, the crickets will die off. These pests are not a year-round problem, but they can be incredibly annoying. If you have dealt with an infestation already, you will be prepared to avoid it the following spring when the new batch of crickets hatch.