- Size: Large; 1 1/4 to two inches.
- Color: Brown with black bands on the abdomen.
- Behavior: Jerusalem crickets are very large, stout insects with big heads. Also known as stone crickets or potato bugs, they possess strong mandibles that can inflict a painful bite if the cricket is picked up and mishandled. Despite their somewhat frightening appearance, Jerusalem crickets are harmless. These crickets are primarily scavengers but will capture and kill insects for food, and they are occasional pests of plants by feeding on the roots. They are also important as food for many animals including barn owls, small hawks, bats, skunks, rodents and some scorpions.
HabitatsThese crickets are found in the western United States along the Pacific Coast eastward into parts of Montana and south to New Mexico. About 40 species are known to be native to California. They burrow into loose soil, especially underneath rocks or boards, and they will sometimes wander into homes. Buildings located in the foothills, canyons and mountains may be more prone to problems with Jerusalem crickets.
Tips for ControlIn general, no treatments are necessary when Jerusalem crickets are found indoors. Indoor invasions are uncommon, and you’re more likely to discover these crickets when working outdoors while gardening. Placing sticky board traps along walls in areas where they may be found easily traps individual crickets. If a single cricket is found inside, it can easily be captured by placing a cup or jar over the insect, slipping a piece of paper underneath, then flipping the container over. The cricket can then be released outside away from the structure.