Scientific Name: Gryllidae
Lifespan: 2 to 3 months as egg/larvae, 3 weeks as an adult.
Problem: Irritating noise, especially at night. Property damage.
Crickets (Gryllidae) can actually be beneficial for garden soil. They are burrowing insects, and by digging into the dirt they loosen the soil, improving airflow and drainage and helping plants to grow.
But crickets are also a common pest. When crickets are chirping – especially inside of the home – it can be a nuisance. Crickets in the house will also eat just about anything they come across, including fruits, vegetables, meat, carpet, dead crickets, fabrics and even the glue that binds your books together.
The Cricket Life Cycle
- Eggs – Crickets tend to lay their eggs in the fall, to hatch the following spring. Female crickets can lay 5-10 eggs per day and up to 100 eggs over the course of their lives. Cricket eggs are very small, white and oval shaped, and are often deposited in soil.
- Juveniles – Juvenile crickets spend most of their time looking like miniature crickets and eating whatever happens to be nearly—usually leaves and roots. Juveniles will shed their skin multiple times before reaching adulthood, and appear very pale when they have recently shed.
- Mature Bugs – Mature crickets are normally dark brown or black in color, with antennae several times the length of their 6 legs. They also have wings, which are the body part responsible for the chirping sound crickets make.
- Lifespan – Crickets only live about 8-10 weeks once adults, and die of old age. Cooling temperatures later in the year will often kill adult crickets. Adult crickets can live without food or water for up to 2 weeks. It is possible to starve out crickets, although they may do a lot of damage while you wait.
Cricket Habitats and Habits
Crickets generally choose warm, damp climates to live in, as water is crucial for their survival. Because crickets are omnivorous scavengers and, like their insect cousins the locusts, will eat virtually anything they come across, they can live just about anywhere and have food enough to live on.
The chirping sounds that crickets make using their finely serrated wings are used in three different ways—to attract potential mates, to intimidate other crickets, and to signal that they have recently mated.
How to Recognize and Get Rid of Cricket Infestations
There are four main signals that point to a cricket infestation:
- Crickets swarming near light sources
- Discarded cricket “husks” or skins indoors
- Overly loud chirping that keeps you from sleeping
- Frequent destruction of household items and personal belongings by crickets
If you are faced with a cricket infestation, you can keep them under control by keeping your home sealed up so crickets do not accidentally enter, replacing outdoor lights with sodium vapor yellow lights (which crickets are less attracted to), and controlling them outdoors so that there are few crickets to come indoors.