How to Kill and Prevent Crickets
The song of crickets can define summer. But when they multiply, they can become a problem.
For some people, the songs of crickets are the definition of a perfect summer night. For others, crickets can be extremely annoying especially when they make their way inside your home.
The good news is, unless they are found in large numbers, they usually do little damage. A sign that you have crickets inside your home is the familiar chirping noise made at night by male crickets as they search for a female. There are three types of crickets commonly found inside homes: house crickets, field crickets, and camel crickets.
What types of crickets are found inside homes?
House crickets get their common name because they are able to survive indefinitely indoors. They are found throughout the U.S. east of the Rockies. Adult house crickets have 3 dark bands on their heads, are ¾ to 1 inch long, have long, thin antennae that are often longer than their body, and are yellowish-brown in color.
During warm weather, house crickets prefer to live outdoors. However, as cold weather approaches in the fall, they seek shelter inside homes. Indoors, they are most commonly found in warm, moist places like kitchens, basements, and bathrooms. Like most cricket species, they are nocturnal and stay hidden during the day.
House crickets will eat almost anything. Outdoors they feed on plants and both dead and live insects. Indoors they are known to chew on paper, fabric (including silk, wool, and cotton), fruits, and vegetables.
Despite its name, the field cricket is one of the most common crickets found inside homes. It can be found throughout the United States. Field crickets are slightly larger than the house cricket (up to 1¼ inches long) and typically black, but may be brownish or straw yellow as well.
Like the house cricket, field crickets prefer to live outdoors. They can be found throughout the landscape in flower beds and in the lawn (particularly where the grass is overgrown.) They can also be found near compost piles, garbage cans, or other moist areas both outside and inside. Field crickets will venture inside your home if food sources become scarce or the weather becomes extremely hot in the summer or cool in the fall.
A field cricket’s diet is very similar to that of the house cricket. Inside, they will damage cotton, linen, wool, silk, and other materials. They will also feed on dead and dying insects, fruits, vegetables, and plants.
Camel crickets, also known as cave crickets, are recognizable by their humpbacked appearance. They can be found throughout the United States. Camel crickets are light to dark brown in color and are about ½ to 1½ inches long. Unlike true crickets, camel crickets do not have sound producing organs so they do not chirp; they also lack wings. Camel crickets do, however, have strong, large hind legs that allow them to leap when they are frightened by predators. Camel crickets are also known to congregate in groups, which means you are more likely to have a camel cricket infestation in your house than you are with other crickets.
Outside, camel crickets can be found in cool, damp areas of the yard, like under leaves, rotting logs, mulch, stones, or other debris. They can also be found in drainage pipes, under sheds, and around air conditioner units. Inside, camel crickets are most commonly found in crawl spaces, basements, utility rooms, and garages. Like other crickets, they come inside your home when it becomes hot and dry outside.
Their diet consists of almost anything. They most commonly consume wood, carpet, fungi, cardboard, and other insects (including other camel crickets.)
Get Rid of Crickets in Your House
Trying to hunt down an individual house cricket or field cricket in your house can be battle since they usually go silent when they feel threatened. Locating a cricket by sound can also be difficult because the direction of chirping is often difficult to determine.
• The most effective way to get rid of crickets in your house is to reduce areas of moisture.
• Use dehumidifiers where necessary and ensure attics and crawl spaces are well-ventilated.
• Treat baseboards, around window and door casings, and in crawl spaces, basements, and garages with Ortho® Home Defense Max® Indoor Insect Barrier with Extended Reach Comfort Wand®.
Keep Crickets Out of Your House
• Keep your landscape well-groomed by mowing the lawn regularly, weeding plant beds, eliminating standing water, and moving woodpiles away from your home.
• Inspect your home’s exterior for entry points and seal any cracks or gaps.
• Apply Ortho® Home Defense® Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter around the outside of your house to help keep crickets out.
• Treat your lawn with Ortho® BugClear™ Lawn Insect Killer.
• Treat your landscape areas, paying particular attention to areas where crickets like to hide, with Ortho® Home Defense® Insect Killer for Lawn & Landscape.