- Crickets: The Nighttime Chirping in the Wilderness and Swamps
- The Hopping Insect Confusion: Crickets, Locust, and Grasshoppers
- Life Cycle of the Cricket
- Where The Common Little Cricket Loves to Hide
- Are Crickets Dangerous Pests?
- How a Cricket Can Enter into Your Home
- The Benefits of Having a Few Crickets in Your Garden and Yard
- Top 3 Ways to Make Your Own Homemade Cricket Trap
Crickets may be one of the few insects that only annoy anyone who is either not adapted to them or simply dislike loud noise at night. Some people are disturbed by their creepy appearance while other societies consider these little hopping insects lunch. Their orchestra of chirps is what gives the swamplands their appeal besides the quartet of croaking frogs.
While the common cricket is seen as a food source to many creatures, it can also be quite the pest for anyone growing vegetables or ornamental flowers in their yard or a lovely well-decorated home. Crickets are like any other insect in the garden, they love leaves, stems, flowers, and other smaller insects that live on said plants.
These insects even have a taste for fabric and paper, so best be warned they aren’t the best of uninvited house guests.
So why not just get rid of all these pests in the garden or in the yard and be done with it? Well, not all pests are completely bad pests. Crickets can actually be quite useful and may even grow on you if you let a few stick around that is. Anyone who fishes knows a cricket can make for some pretty decent bait too.
If you have chickens, a pet reptile or spider, or an aphid problem in your organic garden, then crickets are your ally. Chickens and exotic pets can benefit from this insect’s high-protein content. Organic gardens can benefit by having healthier plants instead of those nasty little green sapsuckers. And if you struggle with sleep, nothing can be more soothing than the chirps of crickets in the distance.
So how does someone reap the benefits of these mini-grasshopper looking creatures? Well, first you will need to capture those little hopping protein-filled critters. Once you have a homemade cricket trap built, it is as simple as leaving it out for those chirpy crickets and wait for their mass invasion into the trap.
How do you make a homemade cricket trap that works? What will attract crickets enough to keep them from escaping? Follow along with this how-to guide on how to build your own cricket trap, how to attract those silly crickets, and learn a thing or two about those tricky crickets in the process.
Crickets: The Nighttime Chirping in the Wilderness and Swamps
Crickets despite be assumed to always be small can actually be fairly large depending on the species of cricket. Bull crickets are the largest of the cricket species clocking in at 2 inches or 5 cm long. There are over 900 different species of cricket currently known.
Most crickets are flightless but can vary in appearance, noises, and other factors depending on the type of cricket. Typically, a cricket may come in a variety of colors ranging from black, grey, green, brown, and pale variations for desert species.
Why do crickets make those strange noises? Do all crickets chirp? These odd little nocturnal insects chirp for many reasons. In particular, it is only the male crickets that make that classic sound. Female crickets are the silent vegetation eaters who await a male cricket’s sweet call to mate. These little insect Casanovas will even duke it out if there is enough male competition.
Although, there are some species of cricket that are completely mute.
When it comes to male crickets they will play their a different little song depending on what they are doing. If the temperature is changing a cricket’s chirping will also change with it depending on the species of cricket. Male crickets will emit a particular sound around other males, play a tune after mating with a female, and their little songs can even be a victory tune for the winner of a duel.
Crickets depending on the species can be either omnivorous, slightly carnivorous or strictly herbivorous. Most herbivorous species prefer to eat seedlings, grass, young plant shoots, and leaves. The carnivorous and omnivorous species will go for aphids, organic remains, decaying plant matter, insect eggs, pupae, scales of insects, molting insects, and larvae.
If you intend to farm crickets you can supplement their diet with crushed dog food, aphids, and lettuce. There are many cultures in Southeast Asia and elsewhere that eat crickets and many markets and specialty restaurants in North America are starting to take part in selling protein powders made of crushed crickets or traditional cricket dishes.
The Hopping Insect Confusion: Crickets, Locust, and Grasshoppers
A common issue among anyone new to hopping insects. While grasshoppers and crickets are distant cousins they can often be confused for the crop-destroying locust. Being able to identify species is important when it comes to dealing with any insect pest. While grasshoppers and crickets can be fairly beneficial to your yard and garden, the locust will be your worst nightmare.
So how do you tell the difference between these three similar looking creatures? Crickets tend to be the smallest of the garden triad of hoppers. Grasshoppers and locust are similar in length with locust having a slightly slimmer appearance. Grasshoppers and locust tend to be more green and brown in colorings while crickets stick to the darker camouflage spectrum.
Life Cycle of the Cricket
Once males finish hashing out who is the most dominant they will then call for female mates. The female will choose which mate’s tune she likes most. Females can mate with up to several other males. To prevent this multiple mates behavior, male crickets sing to their female mates to keep them distracted.
The crickets will then mate and the female will then make a burrow or use the inside of a plant’s stem. Once the burrow is made the female cricket will then lay her eggs.
The crickets development into adulthood is a long one. A cricket will go from an egg to a larva or nymph, depending on cricket species. It will then proceed to go through a series of molts of about ten or more. Once it has finished molting it will then become a full-fledged adult cricket. Crickets will then take a little more time to mature before they start the mating cycle all over again.
Where The Common Little Cricket Loves to Hide
The little cricket with its repertoire of tunes loves to hide anywhere that is safe for it. Crickets are fairly defenseless compared to other pest insect species. So what can the cricket do? It chooses to either flee, get aggressive or camouflage itself and hide underneath its favorite type of shelter.
You are most likely to find a few crickets in these particular areas depending on the species you are dealing with:
- Leaf piles
- Fallen logs
- Tree bark
- Inside curled up leaves of plants
- Underneath stones
- Underneath your home’s foundation or decking
- In your garage around any dark, moist areas
- In your attic around any areas that provide a crack or crevice for the cricket to hide in
- In your basement
- In tiny burrows in the ground
Are Crickets Dangerous Pests?
While many may not think much of these little creatures being disease-ridden, they do carry a few bacteria and parasites. Crickets can carry bacteria such as e. coli and salmonella. Cricket feces can carry a few types of parasite and coming into contact with any cricket feces can result in rashes, sores and other symptoms.
But the diseases aren’t the only damage they can do. These creatures love to eat anything that is vegetation or made of paper and fabric. This means a little cricket will have a feast with your curtains, books, furniture, carpet, and anything else it can get its little mandibles on.
Other than their ability to make you sick with foodborne illnesses, potential to infect with parasites and a penchant for eating your favorite coat or chair, these little insects are harmless. However, there are at least several species of cricket such as the common house cricket that will bite a human, so you will need to exercise some caution with certain species.
How a Cricket Can Enter into Your Home
Most species of cricket are tiny which means they love to hide in any crack or crevice they can sneak inside of. This means any crack in your windows, doors, exterior walls, attic, basement, garage, and so on are all invitations to the common cricket.
The reason they may seek your home for shelter is either out of defense against their natural predators or simply to get away from the cold or extreme heat. But don’t worry crickets are fairly easy to get rid of by either using a cricket trap or calling the local exterminator.
Here’s a nice video explaining a couple of ways on how to get rid of crickets:
The Benefits of Having a Few Crickets in Your Garden and Yard
Since crickets do eat aphids, decaying plant material, and other pests they can serve a purpose of sorts in your garden. While not beneficial in the home, crickets are great at taking on the role of garden guardians and are great diet supplements for chickens, exotic pets, and attracting your favorite bird species.
As long as they are outside your home they can even add to the ambiance of soothing sounds for those who live near rivers, lakes, ponds, swamps and heavily wooded areas.
Top 3 Ways to Make Your Own Homemade Cricket Trap
You can purchase a pre-made cricket trap or make your own. There are plenty of DIY cricket traps to choose from. Here are three of the best cricket traps to try in your home or garden.
1.) Catching crickets with newspaper
Mix any bland bread crumbs and granulated sugar together in equal amounts. Sprinkle the substance all along the areas where you found crickets. Cover this mixture with a single layer or piece of newspaper, and wait till early morning. Typically the best time is when you see fresh dew on the grass.
Take your jar and capture the well-fed crickets. Make sure the lid of the jar has small holes for the crickets to get fresh oxygen. You can then either feed those crickets to pets or simply move them to another place altogether.
2.) Using a leftover soda/water bottle
Cut the top off of the soda or water bottle. 2-liter bottles are preferred since they will allow more crickets to be caught. Invert the cut off top of the bottle and place it into the rest of the bottle. The spout of the bottle should be facing inward. Secure the parts together with a little tape. Sprinkle a bit of sugar into the bottom of the bottle.
Place the bottle on its side near places where you have found crickets. This cricket trap is great for both indoor and outdoor cricket infestations. In the morning, check all of your cricket traps and remove the crickets into a jar with a lid or container. Make sure the container or jar you are using to hold the crickets has small holes for the crickets to breath but not escape.
3.) Using an empty paper towel or toilet paper cardboard tube
Add some sugar or bread crumbs into a cardboard tube. The longer the cardboard tube the more crickets you can catch. Set the tube near places where you have found crickets. Check the tubes in the morning and remove any crickets caught into either a jar or suitable cricket container. This is an effective cricket trap for windowsills and baseboards.