Crickets are a sign of good luck in many cultures, but to many people here they’re one of the more abundant nuisance pests in Arizona – you probably know what their chirping sounds like. You may have even enjoyed it for a pleasant night or two. But for most people, the incessant chirping can be hard to fall asleep to.
Some crickets also try to get inside homes to seek warmth from cold, chilly nights. They congregate at the foundations of houses to try and sneak through cracks and crevices and into the warmer sanctuary your home provides.
To begin properly dealing with crickets, you’ll have to arm yourself with the necessary knowledge.
The order Orthoptera is known for insects with large jumping legs, like crickets and grasshoppers. They can range in size from 0.12 inches to 2 inches. They have rounded heads, cylindrical bodies, long antennae, and large jumping hind legs. Most of the crickets found in the U.S. are typically black or brown, but some of them are green.
The most common types of crickets found in the Phoenix valley area are the field cricket, house cricket, and the tropical house cricket.
Field Cricket – they are dark brown or black in color, and have prominent spurs on their legs. They have large and brightly pigmented hind wings, though not all of them are capable of flight.
House Cricket – they are a light brown or tan in color, and have less prominent spurs on their legs. They have long wings that cover their abdomen.
Tropical House Cricket – they are a yellowish-brown in color, and have less prominent spurs on their legs. They have shorter wings that only cover about half their abdomen. Very rarely, they may have longer wings similar to House Crickets.
Crickets are nocturnal, and during the day hide in shaded areas like tall grass, cracks and crevices in structures, stacked firewood, under rock piles or other debris.
Fruits, vegetables, meat – crickets are omnivores, and eat food that may be quite similar to what we eat. They are scavengers and eat what they find in our homes, garages, or yards. Out in the wild, their diet consists of rotting leaves, rotting fruit, vegetables, and other insects.
HOW DANGEROUS ARE THEY?
Crickets are considered a nuisance pest, more so because of the noise they can produce. The house cricket may be the most problematic for homeowners, as they can produce offspring indoors and need not go outside. If left unattended, generations of these crickets may spend their entire lives never leaving the confines of your own home.
In large numbers, these crickets may damage drywall and fabrics around your home. They’re also known to leave large amounts of feces.
Crickets may attempt to bite humans in defense (if for example, you are holding them tightly in your hand), but they’re typically not able to puncture skin.
HOW DO YOU GET RID OF THEM?
- Using an insecticide spray either by direct hit or by spraying areas where they are typically found is effective. As these chemicals are toxic, avoid spraying near where your family and pets typically rest.
- A more natural way to get rid of them would be to set a bait using molasses. Place molasses in a shallow bowl and fill it halfway with water. Once crickets hop in, they should drown.
Prevent crickets from entering your home by sealing cracks and crevices, and install screens on any outdoor vents. You may also want to install screens on windows, and invest in weatherstripping to close gaps on windows and doors.
Not only does this prevent crickets from entering your home, but it also prevents other pests that prey on crickets from entering. Crickets are loved by many small snakes, rats, mice, beetles, wasps, spiders, lizards, and many more.
For more information on crickets, check out our Pest Encyclopedia.