Crickets are insects often confused with grasshoppers but they are actually their own species that are related to grasshoppers. They are closely related to katydids. The difference between the two species is that crickets are nocturnal while grasshoppers are diurnal or active during the day time. Crickets have an omnivorous diet while grasshoppers are strictly herbivores. Lastly, crickets have long antennae while grasshoppers have short antennae. The three types of crickets that are commonly found in Virginia are field, house and camel crickets.
What is the difference between crickets and grasshoppers?
Most crickets tend to be black, brown or green and are similar-looking to a grasshopper. They have cylindrical bodies with rounded heads with long antennae on them. Grasshoppers can make a noise, but rather than a chirp, the grasshoppers can make a buzzing sound with their sound producing organ located on their abdomen.
Field Crickets: Field crickets are dark, one inch long insects with large hind legs. They have long, thin antennae, with developed wings. They are known for chewing on materials such as fabrics, wood, plastic and rubber, causing damage.
House Crickets: House crickets get their name because they are the type of cricket you are most likely to find inside your house. They are yellowish-brown with dark bands on their head. These types of crickets are nocturnal, so it might be difficult to see them because they are most active when most people are awake. In the winter they live in homes and will chew on fabrics. In the summer they live outside mostly near areas with large amounts of garage such as the dump.
Camel Crickets: These crickets are also known as sprickets (spider crickets) or cave crickets. They are wingless but use their strong legs to leap from place to place. They are known for being quite destructive by eating glue, wood, carpet, dust, plants, wallpaper, various fabrics and even each other. Camel crickets can jump as far as three feet and because of their aggressive tendencies will and will often land on people and might bite if they feel threatened. They are not known for spreading any kind of viruses or diseases or causing anaphylaxis or other health concerns. They are not poisonous or venomous so other than a small bite, they cause no risk for health concerns. A bite from a camel cricket can be painful but there won’t be any other issues associated with it.
How do crickets chirp?
Crickets are known for being nuisance creatures because they will chirp during nighttime hours and keep people awake. Crickets stridulate or sing/chirp due to a process called stridulation which is when their stridulatory organ scrapes against their wings creating a chirping sound. Not all species of crickets have sound producing organs, for example, the camel cricket doesn’t have these organs and is unable to chirp.
Why do I have crickets on my property?
Crickets are drawn to places that allow them a shelter with access to food and light. Crickets will make their way into your home through crack and crevices and open doors and windows. While in your home, crickets will feed off of different types of fabric such as silk, wool, cotton and synthetics. This differs from their normal outside diet of plants, and living and dead insects.
How to get rid of crickets?
While there are different ways to get rid of crickets, including some natural methods such as diatomaceous earth which crickets will ingest and then become dehydrated and die. The only true and effective method for cricket removal is to hire a pest control company to do it for you. Some do it yourself (DIY) methods of cricket removal can be ineffective or otherwise even dangerous. While it may seem like the most cost effective thing to do by attempting to treat the problem on your own, it might end up making the problem worse and require more chemicals. It is best to contact a pest control company to solve the problem because some of the chemicals and other solutions can be dangerous to work with. With a pest control company you will not need to worry about your safety, because they will work to maintain a safe living environment for you and the members of your household. Crickets are essential parts of the ecosystem but it is important to keep them out of your home.
Cricket prevention for your Northern VA home
Crickets are drawn to light so it is best to limit light sources especially at night when they are most active. You might want to consider switching to yellow lights or sodium lamps. In addition, it is important to remove piles of wood, debris and trash away from your home. Trash not only gives crickets a place to live but gives them food to eat. Basements and crawl spaces need to be properly ventilated, because crickets are also drawn to damp, dark places. Vacuuming regularly will remove the crickets and their eggs if you have any in your home. Sealing our cracks and crevices can help to ensure the crickets do not have an easy entry way into your home. Seal-out is something your pest control technician can do if it is something you are interested in.
Why are crickets beneficial?
Much like other insects, they can help with controlling the populations of other pests. Field crickets will eat both living and dead insects and they are known for helping the ecosystem because they prey on insects that destroy crops. While crickets might be beneficial to the ecosystem and their environment, they are not serving a huge purpose inside your home and should be controlled.
If you have crickets in your home in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax or other parts of Northern Virginia, the best thing to do is to hire a pest control company to take care of the problem. At Summit Pest Control, we offer pest services for ants, bed bugs, roaches, rodents and more. If you are having a pest problem in or around your home and would like to seek treatment, you can contact us for an estimate. In addition to pest control, we offer services for wildlife removal, including abatement, trapping and exclusion. If you have a wild animal on your property or in your home, it is best to hire a professional and skilled wildlife removal company like ourselves to take care of the animal safely and humanely.