Certain crickets invade homes and become a pest by their presence. Homeowners complain of their monotonous chirping, which can be annoying especially at night when trying to get some sleep. An unmistakable chirp, produced when the cricket rubs a hardened area on the upper side of its wing against a thickened vein near the base of the forewing.
Indoors, some crickets can feed on a wide variety of fabrics, foods and paper products. Cotton, linen, wool, rayon, nylon, silk and furs are susceptible, along with soiled fabrics, sizing from wallpaper, glue from bookbinding’s, fruit, vegetables, meat and even other crickets.
The word “cricket” comes from a French word, criquer, and meaning ‘little creeker.’ The Dutch call the insect a krekel, while in China it is known as kwo kwo. Crickets get their name from the high-pitched sound or “chirp” produced when the male rubs his front wings together to attract a female. Listening to their song can identify different kinds of crickets. The cricket’s tympanic organs can vibrate with up to 20,000 cycles per second, well beyond the sensitivity of human ears. The temperature can be determined by counting the number of times a cricket chirps in 15 seconds and adding 40 to the number.
How To Prevent Cricket Problems
Sanitation is the most important means of eliminating nuisance crickets. Keep all areas in and around buildings free of moisture, dense vegetation, and weeds (1-foot band next to foundation). Mow lawns cut weeds, and clean up garbage collection areas. Remove harborage sites such as piles of bricks, stones, rotting wood and other debris. Caulk and seal all cracks and crevices, near the ground level at basement windows and doorways.
Make sure that all windows and doors are tight fitting with proper screening in place. Exclusion is an important factor as well as light discipline. Avoid bright mercury vapor lights in entryways and along structure perimeters since crickets will be attracted from far distances. Convert to sodium vapor yellow lights (less attractive to insects) instead of white, neon or mercury vapor lights.
Never store firewood next to the house foundation. Raise garbage cans off the ground if practical. Trash and dumpsters should be placed as far from the building as possible. Crickets are attracted to food in these areas. Crickets may be troublesome at trash dumps, grassy roadsides, pasture fields and wooded areas (breeding sites) before entering structures. Crickets can be collected by a vacuum cleaner or broom and dustpan and discarded if a few are present.
Crickets have been known to damage plant seedlings, seeds of grain crops and alfalfa, strawberries, tomatoes, and other horticultural crops. In addition, crickets can damage stored tubers or fruits. In hay meadows, crickets often chew through baler twine. On the positive side, crickets often eat large numbers of other insects, some of which are agricultural pests.
In homes, crickets sometimes chew on clothing, draperies, or furniture (upholstery). They are particularly fond of fabrics containing organic materials such as cotton, silk, or wool, but they may damage synthetic fibers (nylon, rayon, etc.). This is more likely to occur if food has been spilled on them.