University of Illinois Extension
Bruce Spangeberg

These articles are written to apply to the northeastern corner of Illinois. Problems and timing may not apply outside of this area.

Stateline Yard & Garden

Crickets a Common Nuisance
Around the Home

September 9, 1999

Crickets have been a common sight or sound around homes and buildings. While an occasional cricket in and around the home may not be a big problem, in some cases the population is large enough where control is needed.

Chances are the type of cricket you're seeing or hearing now is a field cricket. Field crickets are most common near agricultural or grassy areas, are usually black, and can be fairly large. Wings project back and look like pointed tails. They prefer to be outdoors, but sometimes wander inside. Field crickets are not capable of reproducing indoors. Most adult field crickets will die off by the first freeze and 95 percent overwinter as eggs in the soil.

The cricket found most often in the home is the house cricket. House crickets are about 1/2 to 3/4-inch long, light yellowish-brown with three dark bands on the head and have long thin antennae or "feelers." They prefer warm areas and are often seen in cracks and crevices near the fireplace, kitchen, and basement.

House crickets usually live outdoors during the summer but move into buildings as fall approaches. They can lay eggs indoors, however, in crevices in dark places. Both the adults and nymphs feed on a variety of fruits, vegetables, cereals, and other crickets. It is possible, however, for house crickets to feed on draperies, garments, and fabrics, especially if they are soiled or saturated with perspiration. Adults can fly and jump considerable distances.

Control measures for both the house and field cricket are basically the same. Begin by minimizing the amount of plant material around building foundations and entryways. Caulk and/or seal all cracks and crevices around windows, doors, and in the foundation itself. Minimize the use of outdoor lights as these will attract crickets from surrounding areas. Empty garbage cans frequently and eliminate sources of moisture by fixing leaky pipes and modifying damp areas. Keep firewood piles at least 1 or 2 feet from the foundation. Indoors, crickets may be removed by vacuuming or by the trusty fly swatter.

Insecticides may also be used to control crickets. Outdoors, contact your local Extension office for current pesticide recommendations. Indoors, there are ready-to-use household insect sprays for application to baseboards, cracks, and door thresholds. Be sure to read and follow all label directions.

 

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