- What Do Crickets Look Like?
- How Do Crickets Live?
- How to Catch Crickets
- The Jar Trap for Catching Crickets
- How to Catch Crickets with Plastic Bottles
What would a beautiful night be without a starry sky? What would you dram without the Moon looking down on you from high above? How could you sleep without the chirp of crickets in the background?
Yes, because once you have put your children to bed and you relax on the patio with a cold drink, there is nothing better than feeling the fresh breeze caressing your cheeks, looking at the light of the Moon and the glimmer of the stars in the dark sky, and listening to the sounds of nature…
Ah, yes, the night sounds of nature: frogs, owls, the odd dog barking in the distance, and, of course, crickets. Crickets? Yes, that’s fine. However, come to think of it, few people know what a cricket looks like…
Of the animals we have mentioned, surely a child has seen all of them – bar one: the mysterious cricket! So, maybe you have decided to show what these little insects look like to your children?
Maybe you just wish to catch a few to take them to class the day after? Well, well, catching a frog or a toad is quite simple; you just need to get hold of it when you see it. But how to catch a cricket is a bit more difficult.
They are very, very shy animals that hardly ever break cover so that we can see them. In fact, most of us hear them quite often (if you live in the countryside), but many, many people have never even seen one.
What Do Crickets Look Like?
Well, some of you may think that they are green, basing your ideas on cartoons and comics. We all assume they are somewhat similar to grasshoppers; this is partly correct.
True, they have very long legs like their relatives who jump around during the day in tall grass. They also have long feelers like them. They even have small wings which they can use to help them to hop very far.
But unlike grasshoppers, most of them are very dark, usually with a long spike at the back of their abdomen, and, of course, they are nocturnal animals, which means that they live at night.
Moreover, crickets have teeth on their legs (up to an incredible 2,500 on each hind leg) which they scratch together to make their well-known sound, correctly called a chirp, like that of birds.
In fact, crickets do not actually make their famous chirp by singing, as other animals do; they do not use their mouth, but by creating vibrations with their legs. Moreover, they do not have ears; they use their feelers to perceive the sounds other crickets make, just like spiders use their legs to ‘hear’ sounds.
How Do Crickets Live?
These insects are quite widespread around the world; in fact, they can be found on almost every continent (not in Antarctica, of course…); most of them like sheltered places as their ideal habitat; they tend to hide in tall grass, under rocks or in forests.
Some crickets like to eat mainly decomposing matter, like rotting leaves, while others feed on fresh leaves and even small invertebrates. They also like sugary food, which will come in handy later on, when we will learn how to make traps to capture them.
They are famous for their sound, as we know, which is different from species to species, and which can change according to the weather; the warmer it is, the faster the vibration. In fact.
There is a species which is commonly known as the Thermometer Cricket, because, by counting the frequency of its chirping, you can actually work out how hot (or cold it is). However, this is not the reason why they make their famous sounds.
There is, in fact, a much more ‘romantic’ motivation; their chirp is mainly a mating song, although it is also used to keep other crickets (which could be seen as competitors) at a distance. Crickets like temperate climates; they prefer areas and seasons where nights are cold and where it does not get too hot during the day.
How to Catch Crickets
The best way to capture crickets is to place a trap with bait outside during the night. We will look at two different traps that you can build easily. Whichever you choose, remember that you will have to check it regularly, because there is only one way of catching crickets in the end, the humane way.
Once you have captured them, even if you wished to move them away from your home (maybe you are not a fan of their chirping?), make sure you release them as early as possible and in a suitable place. Do not leave them in a crowded city, for example; take them somewhere where they can easily hide and eat.
So, are you ready? Here are two easy ways of catching crickets.
The Jar Trap for Catching Crickets
This is the first of our traps for catching crickets. All you will need is a newspaper, a jar, some bread, some sugar, and the willpower to wake up early in the morning. On the other hand, it is very humane, because you will not keep the cricket(s) in captivity longer than it is necessary.
Ok, ready to start? Here it is…
To start with, get some bread crumbs; if you do not have any, just get some old dry bread and grate it with a cheese grater; you will not need much, just about two tablespoons.
It is better if you choose normal white bread; avoid special bread, like poppyseed bread, rye bread, soy bread, chili bread (especially), and any other spiced bread. If it is spiced, the chances are that crickets will not like it (especially with chili, onion, garlic, and herbs).
Moreover, as we said, there are many species of crickets, so, to be on the safe side and make sure you get something they all like, normal bread is the best choice.
Next, get some sugar; white granulated sugar is perfect. You do not need anything fancy at all. A tablespoon or two will suffice.
Mix the bread and the sugar and place them outside on the newspaper. Make sure it is on the paper, as you will then need it to catch the crickets. Pierce some holes into the jar’s lid; make sure you do this, as the crickets will need to breathe when they are in captivity. Do it late at night, before going to bed, and then just relax.
Set your alarm early; depending on the season and where you live, the exact time may change. Try, however, to get up just before dawn, when the grass is still wet with dew. This is, in fact, the best time for catching crickets, as they will be very hungry after the night.
Now, approach the bait slowly and put a jar (with no lid) on the crickets that are feeding on the bait. With your hand, pick up the newspaper, using it as a temporary lid. Then, turn the jar upright and seal it with the pierced lid.
How to Catch Crickets with Plastic Bottles
Maybe you cannot wake up that early in the morning; maybe you just cannot approach the trap to catch crickets we described in the previous section very quietly (depending on where you live, where you put the trap etc.)
So, what can you do? Do not worry; there are other ways that you can use to catch crickets, just bear with me.
Do you have a bog plastic bottle? A one-liter bottle, or even a bigger one, like a water bottle or a fizzy drink bottle?
Fine, that can do! You will need it for this method for catching the little insects. This will allow you to set the trap and go and collect it later in the morning; still, please do not keep them waiting in the trap for longer than it is strictly necessary.
First of all, prepare the bait; you can use the same as for the previous trap to catch crickets: sugar and plain white bread crumbs; again, a spoonful of the former and one or two of the latter will do.
Remember not to use spiced bread, as many animals do not like it (especially with chili peppers, onions, garlic, and herbs, remember?)
Ok, look at your bottle now; just under the neck, say about an inch under the end of the neck, where it becomes a perfect cylinder, cut it horizontally. Next, put the bait in the bottom of your bottle.
Finally, remove the top and put the upper part of the bottle upside down, so that it forms a funnel, back into the base of the bottle. Fix it with sellotape if it is unstable, keeping the opening clear.
Next, place it where crickets can reach; near trees, tall grass, or a pile of rocks; make sure they can get in. Again, wait till it is dark to place your trap in a convenient place and wait for it to catch crickets.
Here we are; you have now seen how you can catch crickets with two simple, effective, and, let us be honest, very cheap traps.
As we said, there are many species of crickets, so, whichever you find inside, maybe do some research about it; take pictures and look it up in dictionaries and books, but, above all, release them as soon as possible in a place where they can go on with their lives happily and safely.