University of Illinois Extension

 


John Church
Extension Educator, Natural Resources
Rockford Extension Center

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Protect Home From Crickets

Crickets are the most noticeable late in the summer and in the fall. That is because then is when the population builds and they reach maturity. Most cricket eggs are laid in the fall in damp soil, with each female laying from 150-400 eggs. They hatch in the spring, becoming adults in July and August, and start the life cycle over again.

It is usually after the crickets have entered the house that most people really notice them or have complaints. Usually it is the noise that the crickets make, especially at night that is bothersome. But, they can be more of a nuisance if they cause feeding damage indoors. Crickets feed on dead and dying insects, seeds, fruits and other outdoor debris. But they can also feed on items inside the home, such as fabric, paper, wool, linen, and other common materials.

As the weather turns cooler, crickets migrate towards the warmth of buildings. They can enter through cracks and crevices in the foundation or poorly sealed door thresholds and windows. They usually don't live very long while inside, but can cause damage before dying in the early winter. Unlike other home invaders, such as earwigs and boxelder bugs, which do not survive indoors, crickets do feed indoors and can live for a longer period of time than the other nuisance insects.

Homeowners should check the house foundation for cracks, which need sealing to help reduce entry of home-invading insects. If pesticides are chosen for control, the foundation and adjacent soil can be treated with a properly labeled insecticide to create a control barrier outside the house. Indoors, ready-to-use aerosol sprays can provide some control. Spray along the baseboards and other potential crawling and hiding places. Be sure to read and follow all label directions and precautions when using any pesticides.

Pesticide treatments cannot replace proper home maintenance and sanitation. Besides checking the foundation, doorways, windows and other entry points, remove debris such as dead grass and fallen leaves near the foundation to help eliminate hiding places. Keep firewood at least several feet from the foundation. Be sure to keep food odors from garbage cans and grills. to a minimum near the house. Reduce damp areas near or in the house, such as leaky pipes, which the insects favor for hiding. Also, lights attract crickets, as well as other insects, so be judicious in the use of lighting near the house.

 

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