Crickets, of which there are different species, are generally famous for the chirping sounds males make to attract female mates. Research has shown that you can even estimate the temperature outside in degrees Fahrenheit by counting the number of chirps you hear in 15 seconds and adding 40.
This chirping sound may be pleasant or annoying, based on your point of view. But more importantly, you may be wondering if crickets are at all dangerous or harmful.
Are crickets dangerous?
Crickets aren’t known to be harmful or dangerous. These vocal insects are essentially just a nuisance pest, particularly if their concerts keep you awake at night. However, once inside your house, field and house crickets may feed on fabric (cotton, silk, wool, fur and linen). Crickets prefer fabric that’s been soiled by food or perspiration. Large numbers of crickets can damage clothing and other fabric items. Camel crickets occasionally feed on paper, but not fabric.
Cricket or grasshopper?
Crickets are closely related to grasshoppers, so it can be hard to tell the two apart. Though crickets and grasshoppers are commonly green, some grasshoppers, like the Eastern lubber grasshopper that’s common in much of the south and southeast U.S., are black. There are also black crickets, like field crickets, which are very common.
The main difference between a grasshopper and a cricket is that crickets tend to have long antennae while grasshoppers have short antennae. Also, grasshoppers typically have long wings and most can fly, while crickets have abbreviated wings and most do not fly. Lastly, crickets “sing” by rubbing their wings together while grasshoppers “sing” by rubbing their long hind legs against their wings.
Take this quiz to see if you can tell the difference between crickets and grasshoppers.
Are crickets nocturnal?
Yes, most crickets are active at night and hide under logs or rocks during the day. These nocturnal creatures usually prefer cool, dark and damp habitats.
How do crickets get in the house?
Crickets may occasionally wander into your house, particularly in the fall, when it’s cooler at night and insects are looking for warm places to spend the winter. Field and house crickets are strongly attracted to bright lights, and they can enter your house through open doors or cracks in doors, window frames, foundation or siding. Crickets don’t usually lay eggs or live very long inside homes — they usually die in the fall or early winter.
How to help keep crickets out of the house
In some cultures, it’s considered good luck to have a singing cricket in your house. But if you find the chirping sound more annoying than lucky, follow these tips for helping kick crickets out of your house:
- Limit outdoor lighting or use yellow lights to help avoid attracting field and house crickets.
- Seal cracks and gaps around your foundation, doors, ground-floor window frames and other entry points.
- Cut grass and tall weeds near your foundation.
- Dry out damp areas inside your home with a fan or dehumidifier. Camel crickets are drawn to damp, dark environments such as basements and crawl spaces.
- Minimize cricket hiding places by cleaning up boxes, paper and clutter.
- Place sticky traps in areas where you see crickets. Get rid of living or dead crickets so they don’t become a food source for other insects, such as ants or beetles. You can use a vacuum cleaner to help remove crickets.
However, these DIY tips often fall short of complete control. If you're experiencing an infestation of large numbers of crickets in your home, contact the pest specialists at Terminix.