- Taxonomical Classification
- Some Enthralling Cricket Breeds
- Cricket Diet
- Distribution and Habitat
- How to Differentiate between Crickets and Grasshoppers
- How Different Cultures Interact with Crickets
- Final Thoughts
Crickets are found globally. Around 900 different cricket breeds exist in different parts of the world, with over one hundred of these species roaming around the United States. Different cultures and regions have different beliefs about crickets. Chinese, for instance, believe that crickets bring good luck.
Crickets are part of a delicacy and part of a hale and hearty diet in some other places. In some areas such as Southern California, crickets are considered great distractors and sources of sleepless nights.
Some cricket breeds live in groups of between 10 to 50 members. The group is aptly called an orchestra. But where exactly do crickets live?
Crickets enjoy inhabiting fields, yards, forests, caves, meadows, and rocky areas. A few species live underground in burrows abandoned by squirrels and rats. Most people recognize crickets by the chirping sounds that males produce when attracting females during mating periods.
Crickets rub their wings together to produce chirping or stridulation noises. A mature cricket is about 1 inch long and comprises three body parts: the abdomen, thorax, and head. More so, crickets have a pair of antennae and three pairs of limbs.
Adults of most species of crickets have wings and are omnivores, feasting on plants and small insects.
Despite some people’s beliefs about crickets, insects can be pretty fascinating when looked at with an open mind. Crickets enjoy an intimate relationship with the human environment and help renew minerals in the soil and break down plant materials.
The insects have an exoskeleton. Also, crickets exist in various sizes, physiologies, and colors depending on their species, environment, and habitat. Most of them have a thin antenna, a pair of sensory appendages (cerci), three-joined limb segments, and hind limbs adapted for hopping/jumping.
Crickets’ two pairs of wings in crickets; the forewings are leathery and hard, and the hindwings helping in flying.
Crickets are close relatives of grasshoppers. They belong to the Gryllidae family that hosts more than 2.400 species of vivacious insects. Interestingly, it’s only the male crickets that can chirp. Females are less aggressive and do not chirp. The chirping sound is considered a cricket trademark.
Read on to explore more about cricket bugs, their various types, diet, reproduction, habitats, and occupation in the human environment/culture.
In biological classification, crickets fall under the following taxonomical levels:
Some Enthralling Cricket Breeds
- Jerusalem Cricket
Some people refer to Jerusalem crickets as old bald-headed men or potato bugs. These nicknames originate from the round bodies of Jerusalem crickets resembling a human head.
Scientifically, Jerusalem crickets are not categorized under true crickets because they are classified under the Stenopelmatus family. However, they have various stridulating behaviors and habits similar to those of crickets.
Jerusalem crickets rub their legs against the abdomens to produce hissing noises when scaring predators like other crickets.
Jerusalem crickets are a bit dormant but can bite human beings quite hard, although they are not venomous. They also produce a foul smell to escape threats.
- Camel Cricket
The camel cricket has a hump-like posture on its back. It also has long spider-like legs. These two features give the insect the name Camel Cricket.
A mature cricket does not have stridulating mechanisms or wings.
Camel crickets are commonly found in greenhouses, where they feed on and destroy plants. They can also roam around homes, especially when you have green plants around. They can destroy plants and flowers.
During summer, camel crickets hibernate in humid and cool places like laundry rooms and bathrooms. They can inhibit your bathrooms if they find access to them.
Camel crickets can also hibernate in caves, attracting the nickname Cave Cricket.
- House Cricket
As the name suggests, house crickets are commonly found indoors. They like human environments. House crickets inhabit patios, kitchens, hide behind furniture and appliances and fireplaces.
House crickets are nocturnal, enjoying roaming, hunting, mating, and feeding at night. They fear light and like hiding in dark areas in your home.
House crickets do not harm people but can scare those that fear encountering them.
- Australian Field Cricket
The Australian field crickets, also known as the Teleorgryllus Oceanicus, are another of the most common cricket breeds. The insects are said to have increased in number due to human assistance.
Some historians believe that the Australian crickets were brought to the United States by Polynesian settlers in the 5th century or by the trade ships in 1877.
Most of the Australian field crickets are dark brown or black in color. Some have stripes on their heads, distinguishing them from all other cricket breeds.
The Field crickets open and close their wings rapidly to produce the chirping sounds to attract males. The females are highly choosy in responding to the calls of their mating suitors.
Therefore, the males have highly-spirited mating competition; some perfect their mating calls by pushing their antennae together and fighting vigorously to exercise control.
To win, a male must produce a unique mating call that attracts female crickets. The uniqueness in the mating call proofs suitability and fitness. The insects are also called Oceanic or Pacific field crickets.
- The Mormon Cricket
These species of crickets infested the first Mormon settlement in Utah hence the name the Mormon crickets. Although these insects are categorized as crickets due to their resemblance to crickets, they are actually katydids.
You can mostly find them in Western North America. Adults can grow to over 3 inches long.
The Mormon crickets’ exoskeleton can be purple, green, black, or brown. They can change colors when in the swarming phase.
In the swarming phase, female Mormon crickets lay numerous eggs through the ovipositor and hide them in the soil.
The Mormon crickets enjoy feeding on vegetation and grass materials. They are an essential part of foods for coyotes, crows, and various Native American tribes.
- The King or Parktown Prawn Cricket
The king or Parktown Prawn crickets are from the Anostomatidae family. The insects are true crickets but have a very close resemblance to chirping masters.
The King African crickets are extremely common in South Africa, getting the name from the location.
Although most people may not allow Parktown Prawn crickets to get into their homes, gardeners praise the insects because they help in reducing the number of garden snails.
The King African crickets are true omnivores. They are also very hardy. The insects can feed on any vegetable matter, cat and dog foods, as well as cats and dogs’ droppings.
Some people believe that the increased populations of the Parktown Prawn crickets in Parktown were due to a local university that used the insects to conduct a genetic experiment in the 1960s.
- Roesel’s Bush Cricket
The Roesel’s Bush crickets are yellow or brown in color and are small-sized. They have spotted abdomens. The females boast of long sword-like ovipositor at the end of the abdomen.
The Roesel’s Bush crickets are the most dominant species in the United Kingdom. It is also common in North American areas, especially in Canada.
You can identify these insects quickly because they are fond of singing when it’s hot and sunny. They produce high-pitched buzzing when singing. Some people may find the singing noises irritating and chaotic.
Most species of crickets are true herbivores, feasting on fruits, leaves, and flowers. Other species can hunt, kill, and eat aphids, pupae, larvae from other insects, and other creeping invertebrates.
Some other species of crickets may scavenge by feeding on decaying materials. However, captured/tamed crickets can change their diet by adapting to the foods provided by the caretaker.
More so, some species have adapted to the omnivore’s diet, eating on anything they can access.
All species of crickets lack cannot feed on humans. However, some species have strong jaws that they can use to bite humans. You may need to be cautious when handling crickets, especially the larger ones.
Depending on the species, crickets can produce various chirping noises. The males are great chirpers when attracting females in the mating seasons.
Some rub their wings together, forelimbs, and others may rub their limbs against the abdomens to produce the chirping noise.
Male crickets chirping serves two purposes:
- To attract female partners during mating seasons. Female crickets choose their partners with distinct characteristics to increase the possibilities of gene superiority.
- To celebrate after winning dominance over other males in a mating pool. When celebrating, the chirping noises appear different from other chirps as proof of suitability and fitness.
When it’s the mating season, female crickets choose males to fertilize their eggs depending on the chirping capabilities.
When a female chooses a male partner, the pair contact via the antenna, and later, they get into a courtship phase, and the mating calls change.
A single spermatophore from the male fertilizes the female’s eggs. The spermatophore is transferred from the male to the female through external genitalia found in the abdomen of the female cricket.
In some cases, the female may decide to remove the transferred spermatophore to accommodate several males on different occasions.
Female crickets lay fertilized and mature eggs inside plant stems or in the soil. The eggs become nymphs or larvae.
The larvae pass through about 10 stages before becoming adults.
Distribution and Habitat
Different species of crickets can be found in various places globally. However, you are unlikely to find these insects in regions with more than 55-degree latitudes because crickets loath to cold weather.
Crickets can infest various habitats. They can transverse oceans, lakes, mountains, deserts, and islands in search of food and better environments. They reproduce rapidly, increasing their populations within short periods.
Tropical areas such as Malaysia have larger numbers of crickets. Over 88 different species of crickets can coexist in the same environment. The type of chirping sounds helps researchers to estimate the number of different species living together in the same environment.
Crickets can find habitats in various places such as caves, burrows, tree canopies, and grass blades. Some species of crickets can even bounce above water surfaces.
How to Differentiate between Crickets and Grasshoppers
Crickets, locusts, and grasshoppers are members of the order Orthoptera. The classification level is also home to several other species.
Although crickets and grasshoppers are close relatives, you can tell them apart using various differences.
Grasshoppers have shorter ones, while crickets have longer antennae protruding from their heads.
Most crickets rub their wings when chirping, while grasshoppers rub their hind legs against their wings to produce the sounds.
Crickets sense sounds using their front legs while grasshoppers have their ears located under their abdomens.
Crickets can be herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores. Some crickets can be scavengers too. On the other hand, grasshoppers are exclusive herbivores, feeding on grass and vegetation only.
How Different Cultures Interact with Crickets
Crickets are popular tropes in different legends and myths—some mythical stories associate crickets with intelligence and good luck. For instance, killing or harming a cricket may be interpreted as a way of attracting calamities in some regions.
Some other stories associate the appearance of crickets as calamities. For instance, in the Bible, a locust infestation was among the ten plagues Yahweh sent to the Egyptians in the time of Moses.
Some cultures in Asia use male crickets for entertainment. The male crickets are caged to produce chirping noises as a form of entertaining family and guests.
In China, cricket fighting is a part of Chinese sports.
Some other places, such as China, Mexico, Ghana, and Thailand, eat crickets as part of their favorite snacks. Crickets can be fried or cooked in different ways and various cuisines.
In the film and theatre industry, producers use cricket songs to symbolize calmness in the night and desertion.
If you decide to give crickets a chance to interact with you, they may become interesting insects. They have various fascinating features and habits.
Although the insects can feed on and destroy your crops and flowers, they are great in pest control. They will feed on most of the pests attacking your plants.
Their chirping sounds can also be a source of great entertainment. Some people find the cricket songs interesting and flirting to the ears.
Q. Can crickets fly?
A. Yes! However, not all species of crickets can fly despite having wings. More so, the Camel and Jerusalem crickets do not have wings; hence they cannot fly.
Both flying and non-flying crickets can jump or jerk depending on the movement they intend to make.
Some crickets have grasshopper-like limbs helping them to maneuver their ways in the forests.
Some species of crickets, such as house crickets, have fully developed wings and can effortlessly fly. They also use their wings to chirp as a way of communicating.
Q. Are crickets nocturnal?
A. Most species of crickets are more active at night than during the day. Therefore, they are nocturnal insects. However, some can be active during the day. The nocturnal crickets hunt for food and mate during the night. They do not like lightened places. Most of them hide in dark areas during the day.
Unfortunately, nocturnal crickets risk being attacked and eaten by nocturnal predators like bats. However, they minimize movements and stop the chirping noises when they sense danger.
Q. Are crickets invertebrates?
A. Crickets are true insects, and all insects are invertebrates because they all do not have backbones.
Crickets belong to the Gryllidae family. Their closest relatives as grasshoppers and katydids. They have long antennae, segmented bodies, and flattened features.
Q. Are crickets herbivores?
A. Crickets feed on various foods depending on their species, habitat, and environment. Some species are herbivores, feeding on plant stems, shoots, flowers, and leaves. Some crickets feed on grass too.
Other crickets are omnivores feeding on both insects and plant materials. Some can scavenge on dead and decaying materials like fruits and house wastes. A few species are true carnivores, feeding on insects, larvae, and other small invertebrates only.
Q. Can crickets bite?
A. Yes! Some species of cricket can bite. However, they rarely harm humans unless when threatened.
Crickets’ mouths are not strong enough to tear human skin, but their bites can risk your health. It is essential to be cautious with insects.
Various crickets carry a range of diseases; hence it is essential to wear protective gear when handling them.
Uniquely, crickets are more likely to jump towards or over you rather than run away from you. So, you may not avoid encountering them. They have blurred vision, affecting their judgments in movements.
Some crickets can cause painful sores putting you at significant risk.
Q. How do crickets make noise?
A. To humans, crickets may be perceived to make noise. However, crickets do not make noise; they make mating calls to attract their female partners.
Some males may also make chirping noises when celebrating successful mating and male dominance.
They make the chirping sounds using their wings and legs. They also use their limbs and wings to hop and fly from one place to another.
Cricket rub their wings together or against their legs to produce the chirping sounds.
Q. How do crickets get in the house?
A. Crickets are a nuisance, especially at night when they chirp. They have the potential to interrupt your sleep as well as make your children and pets feel uneasy. The only way to keep them out is to figure out how they get into the house and devise a strategy to keep them out.
Camel, field, mole, and house crickets are some of the varieties of crickets that can enter your home. Crickets can enter your property through small cracks and openings due to their small size. Lighting attracts them, so you’re more likely to have an infestation if you put security lights directly at the gate.
Using yellow lighting and avoiding harsh light, such as white, is the most effective approach to keep them away from your outdoor locations. It would help if you also sealed or prevented entry sites, such as gaps and fractures in doors and windows.
You should also remove the perimeter of your house of clutter and long grasses, as these features provide an ideal habitat for crickets. Crickets can utilize firewood, stone piles, and other rubbish as a refuge, so don’t keep them close to your house. Getting a cat can also help you get rid of bugs. Crickets are afraid of cats and will avoid your home as much as possible.
Q. What do crickets eat?
A. Most bugs are omnivores, which means they eat both fresh and dried plants depending on what’s available. They prefer decaying plant waste, which is why you’ll find them on your grass or in your yard. If the opportunity presents itself, they will eat stems, young leaves, and fruits.
Crickets enjoy crawling under rocks and wood heaps. These locations are ideal for both food and shelter, as well as protection from predators. Under the mounds, they might eat other insects and bugs. When large colonies run short of food, they can resort to cannibalism and turn on other crickets.
As a result, it is clear that crickets are adaptable and would eat anything as long as it is soft and easy to handle.
To keep crickets away from your property, it is recommended that you put all goods away and store them in tight cans. If they get into your home, they’ll eat anything, including your papers and clothes.
Q. Which crickets make noise?
A. Male crickets create sounds in an attempt to communicate with female crickets. The chirping sounds signal the start of the mating ritual for the females. The sound is made by male crickets rubbing their wings together, a process known as stridulating.
The courting song is a chirping sound that entices a female cricket to mate with a nearby male cricket. Because crickets mate at night, you’re more likely to hear the unpleasant sounds at night than during the day.