Crickets

Cricket Overview

There are over 900 species of crickets and 120 species in the United States. They are closely related to grasshoppers and katydids. They are considered good luck by some cultures, food by others, and a general nuisance by still others.

Appearance

Crickets can grow to be up to two inches long. They have cylindrical bodies, rounded heads, long antennae, wings, and strong hind legs with proportionally strong thighs. Most crickets are brown, but some are black, and tree crickets are green with whitish wings. Their ears are on their legs. The male’s wings have special structures that the crickets use to rub them together. This is how they chirp. The females have a thin round tube that use to lay eggs called an ovipositor.

Lifecycle

Female crickets lay single eggs in moist soil by extruding the eggs through their ovipositor, which they insert into the ground. They can lay as many as 400 in a lifetime. Crickets spend their first winter as eggs and hatch in the spring. Juvenile crickets look like adult crickets but don’t have wings. They molt several times before they reach adulthood and subsequent sexual maturity. Male crickets don’t chirp before this point. Crickets can survive over a year but tend to die in the cold weather, unable to survive more than one winter.

Habitat

Crickets live in humid areas with lots of plants, typically in the soil. They venture inside when temperatures drop.

Damages

Besides the noise, crickets are mostly garden pests. They destroy young plants and flowers, but not as much as many other pests do. They are most dangerous in large numbers, as they can leave large amounts of excrement. The biggest problem with crickets is that they are a prey species and attract more problematic pests to your home, including rodents, frogs and frog-like species, birds, lizards, spiders, wasps, ants, ground beetles, and small snakes.

Control Methods

Crickets are attracted to three main things. These are food, shelter, and light. While they will typically stay outside and eat plants, they have been known to scavenge for food, including other insects, in the basements of buildings. This mostly happens in cooler temperatures, when they need shelter from the cold. As nocturnal creatures, they are attracted to light, so a good prevention technique is to not leave any unnecessary lights on or windows open. Pest control services can control any kind of infestation.

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