How to Keep Crickets Out of Your Home

Pest Management In and Around Structures October 14, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Cricket Management

There is no single, perfect solution for the management of crickets, but a combination of the following suggestions will help to reduce populations.

Camel cricket
Ceuthophilus spp.
David Cappaert, Michigan State University
Bugwood.org

First determine if there are enough crickets currently present or damage apparent to warrant management; everyone has a different tolerance and only you can determine how many crickets are “too many”. Vacuum up cricket frass (poop), and monitor how rapidly it accumulates in corners and sheltered areas outside. This will allow you to assess the current populations.

Cultural Strategies

  • Reduce food supply. Keep floors clean – esp. corners, and under shelving! Pick up and seal pet food after dark.
  • Manage outdoor water sources (leaky faucets, moist areas, etc.).
  • Limit the use of night-time lighting, or change bulbs to yellow “bug bulbs” which do not attract bugs.
  • Remove un-kept vegetation and debris from around buildings; it can serve as a hiding place or breeding site.

Mechanical Strategies

  • Prevent entry by sealing cracks and openings. Use sealant and weather-stripping to fill all openings, cracks, gaps, and holes in foundation, siding, windows, doors, screens, and other possible entry points. Think like a bug!
  • Remove crickets from indoors by squashing, vacuuming or using sticky monitoring traps.
  • Apply diatomaceous earth (DE) or boric acid in cracks and crevices that cannot be filled; this is where crickets hide during the day. DE is an abrasive, fine, white powder which is actually tiny sharp fossil shells that will gradually wear through the cricket's outer cuticle, causing it to dehydrate and die. Many products can be used both indoors and outside. Inhalation of DE could lead to respiratory problems; wear a dust mask during application.

Biological Strategies

Encourage natural predators around the school or home (lizards, birds, spiders). Avoiding broad spectrum pesticide applications goes a long way to promote natural predators and a wide diversity of creatures.

General Habits

Crickets are active at night. They enter buildings more often during a wet, warm season and/or when the weather turns cool in the fall. Females have ovipositors, which distinguishes them from males (who only have two short cerci and no ovipositor). Crickets commonly enter buildings through open doors or those that need to be pest-proofed by adding door sweeps, weather seals, and screens.


House Crickets

house cricket (Acheta domesticus)

House cricket
Acheta domesticus
Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org

Description
Tan with darker patterning. Similarities between sexes, with exception of obvious ovipositor on female.
Length
3/4 inch long
Habits
Common indoor pest, especially during rainy seasons. During the daytime, individuals forage for food scraps and crumbs on the ground; frequently seen on kitchen corners and under/behind appliances and shelving. At night, males climb to higher location (shelves, counters) and chirp continuously to attract females. Their presence indicates the need to pest-proof and improve floor sanitation.


Field Crickets

Field crickets, Gryllus spp.

Field crickets
Gryllus spp.
Johnny N. Dell, Bugwood.org

Description
Larger than the Indian house cricket, and often darker in color.
Length
About 1 inch long.
Habits
Prefers to live outdoors; is not a common indoor pest, but an occasional invader. Rainy seasons may increase indoor sightings temporarily, especially if attracted by outdoor lights. Pest-proof building (especially doors), and use sticky traps to round up occasional invaders.

Camel Crickets

Camel cricket

Camel cricket
Ceuthophilus spp.
David Cappaert, Michigan State University
Bugwood.org

Description
Camel crickets have long antennae and significantly larger hind legs than other crickets. Tan to dark brown in color, wingless, and with a humpedback (giving them their name). These crickets do not chirp.
Length
1/2 to 1 and 1/2 inches long
Habits
Nuisance pest. Found outside in caves, wells, hollow trees and stumps, and under rotten logs, damp leaves, stones, boards and bricks. May wander indoors as an accidental invader; in rare cases it will breed in moist dark areas, such as basements.

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USDA / NIFA

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.