Crickets frequently become a pest in homes and other buildings. In addition to their bothersome chirping, some crickets will feed on a variety of fiber and food products found in the home. However, one or two crickets do not present a serious problem to the homeowner.
Crickets are destructive when they become pests in homes. They damage fibers, clothing and carpets, and they are particularly drawn to any clothing with perspiration stains. They are omnivorous, eating paper, silk and woolens, and some foods. Good sanitation is necessary to limit cricket infestations. Other measures include prevention and, in some cases, insecticide. Crickets are a seasonal problem, but the incessant chirping can make a season seem like forever.
Habitat Crickets live in meadows, ditches and fields. They are drawn to trash and debris. Crickets lay eggs in the summer and fall, and they live for a single generation. They are usually content to live and feed on plant materials, but when the weather becomes cool in the fall, they seek shelter to survive harsh environmental temperatures or to find food when it’s scarce. Crickets live outside, but they often lay eggs inside when they enter buildings. They seek dark crevices like behind baseboards, or under furniture. They are nocturnal, hiding during the day and keeping active at night. Controlling Infestations Prevention is the easiest way to keep crickets from buildings. Keep vegetation away from building foundations, especially ivy and shrubs. Remove any discarded wood, bricks or stones away from houses. Raise garbage cans and woodpiles off the ground to eliminate areas for breeding. Caulk all cracks, openings and crevices to keep crickets out. Make sure screens and doors fit tightly. Crickets are attracted to white light, neon and mercury vapor lights. The North Dakota Extension Service recommends using yellow or low pressure sodium lighting instead. If it’s possible, turn off the outside lights when cricket populations are high. Insecticide Treating foundations and window wells with insecticide may impact cricket infestations. Treating a two or three foot barrier around the foundation may be enough to discourage cricket migrations. The Department of Entomology at North Dakota State University advises homeowners that heavy insect migrations are difficult to control, because the insecticide is not immediately fatal. The entomology department recommends older insecticides such as Sevin, or newer products that contain cyfluthrin, deltamethrin, and tralomethrin. Use caution when applying insecticide, because staining can occur. Indoor Measures The entomology department at North Dakota State University recommends aerosol preparations containing pyrethrum and permethrin to treat indoor infestations. Spray the aerosol along baseboards, in closets, under stairways, and anywhere else you suspect crickets may be hiding. Always read the directions on insecticides carefully, so you do not contaminate your living space. According to Walter Ebeling, author of Urban Entomology, any substance that is effective on cockroaches will work on crickets.
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