Just when you lay your head down on your pillow and start to drift off into a great dream, you suddenly notice the incessant chirping. Where is it coming from? It can seem so loud that you imagine the crickets are right underneath your pillow. You might go searching around the house for the culprit, but just when you believe you have found the guilty annoying cricket, it stops chirping. Long enough for you to get back into bed.
Crickets can be noisy, and some are harmless, while others can inflict extensive turf damage. They can be tricky to get rid of, but we’ll walk you through how to get rid of crickets the natural way.
First, Let’s Talk About Some Common Types of Crickets You Might Encounter
Field Crickets are famous for their chirping, which reminds us all of warm, carefree summer nights. These crickets make homes in the ground, tall grass, and even in piles of lawn debris. They’re mostly harmless, and typically consume animal waste and plant matter. They can be helpful in consuming the pupae of certain insect pests, but in large quantities, might attack ornamental or vegetable plants. Field crickets are usually black in color, and about one and a half to two inches in length.
Mole Crickets look like the offspring of a cricket and a lobster. They are brown/black in color, and are typically an inch or two in length. They are common in the southeastern part of the United States. They are common lawn invaders and can do quite a bit of damage to your lawn. Some estimates of the turf damage they do every year run in the tens of millions of dollars in several southern U.S. states. In Florida alone, damages are calculated in the hundreds of millions of dollars. If you live in the south, keep your eyes peeled for mole crickets!
House Crickets are loud chirpers and they are so-named for being known to invade your home, though they are not usually found west of the Rocky Mountains. These crickets are yellowish-brown with dark crossbands on their heads and are only about ¾ -⅞” inches in length. One signature identifier is their antennae, which is almost always longer than the length of the rest of their body. Why do they chirp so much? Male house crickets rub their back legs together in an attempt to attract a female.
Camelback (also, Camel crickets, Spider crickets, Cave crickets, "criders," "land shrimp," or “sprickets”) Crickets are nocturnal, leaping insects, and occasional home invaders. Their colors typically range from light tan to brown, and measure about 1-1 1/4" in length. Camel crickets do not have wings, and are omnivorous, eating just about everything, including plant matter, fungus, other insects, and even fabrics. They are related to cave crickets and are found all over the world. They love moist, dark, and damp areas, so don’t be surprised if you find them in your garage, crawlspace, or basement. The most common species here in the US is the Spotted Camel cricket, but Japanese camel crickets are also becoming more prevalent.
More About Getting Rid of House Crickets
House crickets will eat dead insects and plants when living outside. Indoors they can also feast on dead insects and fabrics, but house cricket damage can be difficult to see without a magnifier.
They are attracted to warm, moist areas of your home. How do you know if you know you have a house cricket invasion? You can’t miss them. You will hear them, see them, and/or find evidence of them.
How Do You Get Rid of House Crickets?
Crickets can lay their eggs inside, so for starters, be sure to keep your home thoroughly vacuumed once you notice crickets are present.
Tips to Help Prevent House Crickets:
- Seal up your home (caulk, door/window seals, screen windows/vents, etc.). Make sure you seal up all the entry points, racks, window frames and any holes in the brick or siding of your home.
- Reduce moisture indoors, especially in the basement
- Apply a natural insecticide dust in and around the perimeter walls of your house
- Have a botanical spray ready for use indoors and outside around the foundation
- Preventive maintenance outdoors
Do Preventive Outdoor Maintenance
- Keep your lawn mowed and foliage well-trimmed
- Keep your flower beds tidy and free of weeds
- Keep the sides of your home free of woodpiles or other yard clutter
- Eliminate as much moisture as possible around your home’s exterior
After putting the above physical preventive measures in place, you might still need to treat your cricket problem with some pest control products. Try the following:
Pest Control Products for Cricket Control
Do a preventive treatment around the exterior of your home using a boric acid granular perimeter bait. Sometimes feeding them is one of the best things you can do. It results in much less work for them to find your bait than for you to go out in search of them yourself to spray them with insecticide.
For crickets that get inside your house, dusts are an option for indoor treatment. Some insecticide dusts have a desiccant (dehydrating) effect on bugs, and they work by adhering to the legs and exoskeleton of the insects, and dehydrating them to the point of death.
Diatomaceous Earth: There is no shortage of information on the use of diatomaceous earth (DE), but it does have its limitations. It could be one of the tools you use to control crickets, but perhaps not the only one.
DE is a powder that is created from the skeletons of algae, and works by drying out (desiccating) the insect. It can be effective against certain pests. DE attaches itself to the body of a cricket, causing them severe dehydration and eventually death, though it takes time. You will need to be patient.
Silica Insect Dust: Like diatomaceous earth, Amorphous Silica Gel is a desiccant that kills insects by drying them out. It works extremely well on bed bugs, ticks, fleas, spiders, cockroaches, and many other unwanted visitors hiding in wall voids, attics, basements, cracks, and crevices, etc. It is stronger and works faster than diatomaceous earth.
Boric Acid Insect Dust: Boric Acid insect dust is another viable option to prevent and control crickets. It should be used inside cracks, crevices, and wall voids in the general area where you having cricket issues. Basements are another good area to dust with boric acid, as they can be perfect hangouts for certain types of crickets.
Plant-Based Insect Dust: Botanical dusts are counted among the oldest and newest natural dust insecticides. Some of these dusts are made from extracts of the flowers of the chrysanthemum plant (containing the natural insecticide pyrethrum), and have been used as insecticides for centuries. There are also extremely effective botanical dusts containing natural plant oils, such as our Spider and Insect Dust
Insect Sticky Traps
You might be able to trap house crickets using sticky traps. Be sure to place them way out of the way of normal household traffic, as they are incredibly sticky.
There are any number of pesticide sprays on the market, including “greener” options that work just as well (and sometimes better) than synthetic pesticide sprays. Ready-to-use products, like aerosols, trigger sprays, and hose end sprays, are best so you don’t have to worry about mixing and then storing leftover chemicals. Crickets are highly susceptible to certain plant oils, so a hose-end spray made with natural plant oils is a great exterior treatment, such as our Yard Bug Spray.
What are your favorite hacks to keep your home cricket-free? We’d love to hear about them! Post a comment below!
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