What do crickets eat may be a question that crosses your mind if you find yourself with a cricket problem. From chirping loudly at all hours of the night to eating some of the seeds you have planted as a farmer or homeowner, crickets can be an annoyance. Below you will find information on what crickets eat, where they live, and what you can do to avoid having them in your home and yard.
Different species of crickets
There are three main types of crickets you may find in or around your home and garden. This is some basic information on each species including what they look like and where they hang out.
- Field cricket. These are the guys you hear chirping during the summer all night long. Generally found in fields and in tall grass, these little pests have been known to come into houses when the seasons change and the nights become colder. They are roughly an inch in length and are black and dark brown. The only distinguishable difference between males and females is that the female has an ovipositor on her body. It is used to lays eggs in the soil after mating. Males rub their wings together to produce a “mating song” and the females seek them out. Over the course of the season a single female cricket can lay up to 400 eggs total, approximately 50 each time she mates.
- Camel cricket. Probably the lesser known of the three species, the camel cricket is wingless. They can grow bigger than an inch, though they generally stay closer to the smaller side. Having a hump-like back, these tan crickets are often considered more like a grasshopper than a cricket. People that encounter them tend to believe the latter is true but they do have mouth-parts like crickets, which is why they are classified as crickets not as grasshoppers. Generally found in cool and damp areas, the camel cricket is often referred to as a “cave cricket.”
- House cricket. This species of cricket is yellowish-brown. House crickets are very similar to field crickets. Generally these crickets are used as bait for fishing or food for household pets. They can escape captivity and end up in your home, but they are the least likely to present a problem for a homeowner. Typically house crickets can be found on shorelines or around the river. Many of them are around the river because they were let go after a day of fishing and are no longer useful.
Crickets have palps which help them eat. These are sensory appendages located near their mouth-parts that act like an extra set of hands. This makes it easier for the crickets to eat. Palps are actually a part of their mouth. Once the food source has made it into the mouth via the palps, the crickets can chew and swallow easily.
What do crickets eat?
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You may be wondering what crickets eat if you have found them in your home or garden area. The good news is there isn’t going to be a lot of damage done to your home like you may see with other pests, but crickets can make a dent in items like books and clothing. Below you will find a list of things crickets eat and why they choose to eat them.
- Dead insects. If crickets find dead insects, they generally will feast on them. The less intense the hunt for prey is, the better it is on the crickets. Discovering dead bugs is a jackpot for crickets.
- Fungi. Since crickets spend a lot of time around wood piles and in damp conditions, fungi is usually readily available. Why not eat something that is in abundance and not have to work to get it?
- Plants. Leaves, stems, and seeds are all fair game for these insects. If it is part of a plant, crickets find it edible.
- Fruits. This goes for fruit that has dropped from a tree or fruit found in your home. If crickets have access to something sweet and soft, they will enjoy it.
- Clothing. Crickets are particularly attracted to perspiration-soaked items. If you leave your clothing on the floor in your home or outside for any length of time, you may come to find damage done. Crickets are not particular when it comes to fabric and will eat through silk, rayon, and even wool.
- Other crickets. Desperate times call for desperate measures and if there isn’t food around, crickets will eat one another. Sometimes they will even eat another species.
- Paper goods. From books to newspapers, crickets will eat through paper quickly. If you are keeping papers in your home, you may want to move them to a safe place.
- Leather. This is probably one of the more odd choices, but crickets do eat through leather items. If you have leather furniture be sure to check to be sure that there is no damage behind or under your furniture.
Does the species matter when considering what crickets eat?
Because there are three different species of crickets, there is somewhat of a variance on what they eat. House crickets are generally used as feed for larger reptiles. They eat things that are found in homes like food, clothing, and paper goods. Since field crickets live outside, they generally feed on decaying matter, fungi, and plants. Of course if fruits or vegetables become available, field crickets will eat those as well. Camel crickets generally feed off of dead things and fungi because they choose dark and damp areas to live in. There isn’t much variety, but they make do with what surrounds them.
How can I stop crickets from eating my plants?
Another answer to what do crickets eat is plants and seeds. Farmers sometimes have a hard time with crickets when they plant their crops. Because they dig around in dirt and lay their eggs in the soil, they will sometimes feed on seeds. If the cricket population is big, this can pose a huge loss for the farmer. Likewise when homeowners plant a garden, some may experience issues with crickets digging up and eating their seeds. In order to avoid crickets digging up plants and seeds, a pesticide will need to be used. Farmers have access to more potent chemicals, but they should be used with the utmost caution. Homeowners can buy pesticides at their local hardware store. Follow the directions completely. If you have pets or small children, use caution when applying it near your home or any other building on your property.
How can I eliminate crickets from my home?
Finding crickets in your home isn’t a good sign. They make a lot of noise and can keep you up all hours of the night while you look for them. Crickets are experts at hiding, which also makes them a pain to try and catch. In order to avoid all the havoc that crickets can wreak, you can take the steps below to ensure crickets will not have access to your home.
- Seal all entryways. Usually crickets enter your home through a cracked window, hole in the screen, or unsealed doorway. Check everything in your home to make sure it works properly. Reseal the doors that may have lost their weatherstripping. Doing all of this will help to ensure the crickets won’t have access to your home.
- Keep all your food cleaned up and stored properly. Don’t leave crumbs on the counter after meals. Check to make sure all of your containers seal properly. If you have pets keep their food dishes off the floor as well. Eliminating the food source will eliminate the cricket problem.
- De-clutter your home. Crickets love piles of paper and other various items some might deem to be garbage. Cleaning up your home will lessen the places for crickets to hide and allow you to gauge the size of the cricket issue.
- Plant away from your home. Whether it is a garden or just flower beds, it is best to keep some distance between it and your home. Crickets are attracted to plants and the closer they are to your home, the easier it is to have an infestation. The rule of thumb is at least five feet away, though the farther you can go, the better.
- Spray around your home. You can purchase an insecticidal spray that will keep the bugs away from your home. Spray it around your doors and windows. You can also go around the foundation perimeter as well. Be sure you check the instructions and directions regarding use if you have small children or pets.
If you have found yourself with a cricket problem, the first logical question you are probably asking is, what do crickets eat. In order to eliminate the problem, you must first eliminate the food source. After that, you try to identify the species of crickets you are dealing with. Knowledge is power when dealing with insects and once you have all the information you need, the cricket problem can be properly handled.
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