Ah, the elusive cricket: How to keep them out


I was in the front lobby of our office building greeting clients as they entered the building. For those unfamiliar as to where the Ohio State University Extension office is located, we are at 639 S. Dunbridge Road. Coming through the lobby entrance not only were our guests but also an unwanted visitor; the Black Field Cricket (Gryllus pennsylvanicus).

Normally late summer through first frost our office building has these unwanted visitors. I find these insects fun to play with; however, most of our office staff find them annoying and disgusting. Sometimes our office building also is visited by the House Cricket (Acheta domesticus).

Why do these crickets not only come into our office and your home you may ask? The answer is simple to annoy us. No, the crickets have been outdoors all summer long. As we enter late summer and early fall the crickets are seeking warmer quarters. Remember, last week we had some cool August nights and mornings. This triggered the crickets’ movement and entrance.

The black field cricket is between 1/2 to 1 1/4 inches long, robust, and found on lower floors and basements. The house cricket is smaller light brown and between 3/4 to 7/8 inches long. They prefer warmth and can be found anywhere inside a building. Those of us who have very damp basements and crawl spaces may encounter the camel or cave crickets (Rhaphidophoridae spp.). These crickets are tan to brown and about the same size as the field cricket. They also have extremely long antennae and rear legs.

Of the three common cricket invaders, only house and field crickets sing. What annoys us the most is the chirping. The sound is produced when the males rub a sharp edge at the base of one front wing along a file-like ridge on the underside of the other wing. The warmer the temperature, the faster they sing. Count the number of chirps in 15 seconds then add 40 for a temperature estimate in degrees F. There are three types of songs: a call to attract females, an aggressive song to warn away other males, and a courtship song prior to mating. Crickets hear songs with “eardrums” located on their front legs.

Therefore, crickets are so hard to find indoors. They are chirping away and as we get closer; they pick up our sound on their front legs and quit. The other annoyance is they ramp up their chirping in the evening due to their nocturnal nature. Nothing is more relaxing then winding down in the evening and the chirping begins.

The best way to deal with these invaders is not allowing them to come in your home or office building in the first place. Large openings created by the loss of old caulking around window frames or door jams provide easy access into homes. Such openings should be sealed using a decent quality flexible caulk or insulating foam sealant for larger openings. Poorly attached home siding and rips in low window screens also provide an open invitation. The same is true of worn-out exterior door sweeps including doors leading into attached garages; they may as well have an “enter here” sign hanging on them.

Keep the outdoor landscape mowed and weeds trimmed. Crickets are also attracted to lights. Use shades or drapes on brightly lit windows and limit the use of outside house lights during cricket season. If porch lights are necessary, try one of the non-attracting yellow bug lights.

There are many pesticides products available for cricket control outdoors around the perimeter of structures. Pesticide control with insecticides will only work providing they are used in conjunction with permanent, structural repairs and mowed and trimmed landscaping. As with all pesticide products it is up to the end user to read and follow the pesticide label. The good news is crickets rarely breed indoors and die out as winter arrives.

Portions of this article were acquired from the University of Maryland Extension and more information can be found on this website: https://extension.umd.edu/resource/crickets.

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