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Cricketscricket

 

Description

Crickets are usually black, brown or greenish in color to better blend in with their surroundings. They have large, powerful back legs and long antennae. Crickets have six legs, including the hind legs. They have wider, more flattened bodies than grasshoppers. Not all crickets have wings but if they do, they are held flat and overlapping on their back. Crickets have their “ears” on their hind legs. Most people can tell the difference between a cricket and their cousins, the grasshopper, but cricket species can vary greatly from one to the other.

 

General Overview

While crickets are related to grasshoppers, which they resemble, they are more closely related to katydids. Crickets are known for their characteristic chirping noise. Only the males chirp because only they have the “scraper” on the right forewing. Rubbing the scraper causes the sound most people associate with crickets on warm summer nights. There are four different types of cricket “song.” Crickets have different times for chirping depending on what species they are. Crickets are mostly omnivorous.

 

Signs of Infestation

As with a great many pest species, the best way to tell if you have an infestation is by spotting crickets in your home. However, unlike some species of pest, a cricket infestation can also be spotted by hearing crickets chirping in your home. While you will likely see the crickets during your normal routine around the home, it will likely not be until the night before you hear the crickets. This can be especially inconvenient for light sleepers. If there are pets in the home, you may be able to spot an infestation by the actions of your pets. Cats, especially, enjoy chasing the quick and jerky movements of crickets. As with other pests, you may also be able to find a cricket infestation based on the types of foods that they feed on.

 

Environment

Crickets enjoy, like many pest species, damp and warm environments for their infestation sites. As they are cold-blooded, crickets rely on warmer environments to regulate their body temperature and will make their homes within a household accordingly. If you have a home that has leaks or relatively undisturbed areas, such as the basement, that are poorly insulated, these can provide crickets with both a means to enter a house and a habitat to live. In the wild, crickets prefer to make their habitats in such areas as under dead leaves or live plants close to the soil. Crickets can typically be found anywhere there is plant matter.

 

Eating habits

Crickets as a whole are omnivorous, though most species stick to a variety of plant matter, both living and decayed. They will consume fruit, vegetables, smaller insects, select carrion and seeds. They prefer decaying vegetation, even making their homes in leaf and compost piles. They will even eat their dead, sometimes attacking weaker or dying members of their own species. When in a home, crickets will eat anything available, even paper products such as books.

 

Treatment and Prevention

As with most pests, the key to treatment of a cricket infestation is prevention of the cricket’s entrance into the home. The best way to prevent crickets in particular is to remove the damp, warm areas that they find most hospitable. Crickets tend to gain entrance into homes through the foundations, exploiting cracks in building materials. A homeowner can also avoid attracting many species of crickets by turning off external lights that can attract them. Treatment of a cricket infestation can involve insecticides and other chemicals. Because of the toxic nature of these chemicals, it may be best to contact a professional for a serious infestation.