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Field Crickets

Summary: Field crickets were often kept as pets in ancient China. They were prized for their songs and kept in golden cages. Today in the USA we often consider field crickets a pest and do not want them in our homes.

People in America, by and large, are not very tolerant about having insects in their homes. The sound of a cricket chirping in a basement or wall void can drive a homeowner out of his/her mind at the thought of a six legged arthropod laying eggs in every crack and crevice of the house. However, there is no reason to fear field crickets. They cannot survive indoors and only lay their eggs into moist soil. Try imagining that chirp as a soft lullaby rather than something that keeps you up at night.

Field crickets are found throughout North America. They are about an inch long, are black or brown, and have wings that are used for flying and for making the renowned chirp. Females have a spikey-thing extending from their abdomen called an ovipositor which is used to lay eggs.

Field crickets have very long antennae and powerful hind legs that can help them escape from predators. They can jump thirty times the length of their body, or about three feet in the air. Their legs are also used for defense as most spiders will carefully try to avoid a kick in the head.

Field cricket wings have stiff veins that they rub together. One wing is called the file because it is serrated like the edge of a comb, and the other wing is flat and is appropriately called the scraper because it is used to rub against the file. Cricket chirps are species specific. All crickets of a species make the same kind of chirps. Some cricket chirps are short, while some are longer and are known as trills. The loud chirps are performed only by male crickets and are used to attract a female mate. Crickets also have quieter sounds that serve as courtship chirps for females that have gotten close and warning chirps for male crickets that have gotten too close. Crickets are most active at night and chirp recurrently after the sun has set.

Field crickets eat almost anything. Their diet consists of grains, seeds, and also dead or dying insects. When necessary, field crickets will attack and eat other field crickets.

Crickets have many predators including birds, rodents, spiders, parasitic wasp larvae, and sometimes other crickets. Field cricket can be found in fields, pastures, meadows, and occasionally in agricultural fields.

When crickets invade a home they can do damage to linen, cotton, wool, silk, and fur clothing. They might be attracted to come inside because of the availability of these food sources, or because of the warmth, or because they are attracted to light. It is even possible that crickets like the great acoustics that they find in basements that make their chirps reverberate loudly.

If the presence of a cricket inside your home bothers you it can be a frustrating task trying to locate the source of the chirp. The first thing that you should do is find the entrance the cricket used to come inside and to seal it off. Possibilities include cracks in the foundation, weep holes, or spaces under doors or windows. Weather proofing under doors will keep insects out and improve the insulation in your home. Fill cracks with cement and consider buying weep hole covers if field crickets are a frequent problem. To keep crickets away that are attracted to lights you might could try switching to yellow light bulbs.

You can use Maxforce or Niban granular insect bait spread on the soil in a perimeter around your house to reduce cricket populations. Onslaught, Suspend SC, Talstar Pro, or Advion Insect Granules that act as residual barrier pesticides that prevent insects from crossing it, although this method does not provide a complete guarantee. (Always carefully read the label of any pesticide before you use it.) To get the pesky cricket that is already in your house you can try setting out glue traps placed along the walls and in the corners of the rooms where you suspect the cricket is hiding. I wouldn't recommend catching one with your bare hands because they can bite. Some crickets can also release a repulsive odor that you might prefer not getting on your hands.

Any problem that you have with field crickets is likely to be easily solved because the crickets do not often come inside. If you have a persistent problem with a chirping insect it is more likely a house cricket than a field cricket, but the methods to prevent them are largely the same.

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