How To: Get Rid of Crickets
If a cricket infestation is bugging your home or yard, try these 10 tips to send the pesky insects packing—permanently!
The chirping of crickets may be a pleasant sound of summer, but these insects can become a real nuisance—especially if they take up residence inside your home and lay eggs. Between their constant racket, ability to jump up to 3 feet, and possibility of carrying disease, crickets are hardly welcome guests. And while they may not be the most destructive pests, some species, given the chance, will snack on wood, paper, and a variety of fabrics. Read on to learn a bit more about these noisy, intrusive insects plus nine clever ways to banish the bugs for good.
What are House Crickets?
There are more than nine hundred unique species of crickets, but the ones likely to take up residence in your home are officially known as Acheta Domesticus (Linnaeus). They are found throughout the US, mostly east of the Rocky Mountains. Folks who keep the likes of snakes and lizards will purchase house crickets as food for their pets. This type of cricket is also consumed by people around the world as an inexpensive source of protein.
During warm weather, house crickets are quite comfortable outdoors, feasting on plants, garbage, and bugs. But when temperatures drop, they may move indoors, preferring warm, moist environments—where they can survive indefinitely. If house crickets take up residence, carpets and clothing are vulnerable; the insects are fond of wool, cotton, silk, and synthetics, and items soiled with perspiration are an especially tasty treat for house crickets.
What do House Crickets Look Like?
Although house crickets can be found in your yard, they differ from field crickets in behavior, diet, and appearance. Field crickets are dark brown to black, and can be a bane to gardeners since they’ll dine on vegetation and crops.
Adult house crickets, on the other hand, are:
- light yellowish brown in color with three dark crossbands on their head.
- slightly smaller than field crickets, between about 3/4 to 7/8 inch in length.
- have threadlike antennae often longer than the body, and their wings lie flat, which lend a resemblance to cockroaches.
- have, like all crickets, long back legs that give them plenty of jumping power.
Signs of a House Cricket Infestation
Just one cricket in your abode is no cause for alarm—although the nocturnal intruder may keep you up at night. A pest control problem arises when house crickets move in and breed. Some signs that there may be a cricket infestation in your home:
- You’ve spotted multiple crickets inside.
- You hear a chorus of crickets at night, loud enough to tell that it’s not coming from outdoors.
- Rugs and carpets have roughened areas and loose fibers.
- Clothing, particularly pieces kept in a warm and/or damp environment, shows large holes (smaller holes may indicate a moth problem).
- Upholstered furniture looks chewed along the edges. Check with a magnifying glass and you might actually see mandible marks.
How to Get Rid of Crickets
House crickets should be booted before they settle in. While it’s rare for them to bite humans unprovoked, crickets can carry parasites and such diseases as E.coli and salmonella, so you certainly wouldn’t want the pests hopping around in your kitchen, pantry, or anywhere else sneaky insects hide. Nor would you want them feasting on your fabrics or important papers. So check out these pest control tips to discover where crickets are hiding, how to kick them out, and clever ways to keep them from coming back.
1. Listen up!
The first step to removing crickets is figuring out where, exactly, they are. So follow the sound of chirping, and be stealthy in your approach. If crickets hear you coming, they’re likely to quiet down.
2. Investigate dark areas.
Focus your search on areas that provide cover, as crickets are fond of nesting in dark, moist environments. Outside, check along the perimeter of patios and walkways, beneath decorative planters, under layers of mulch, and in the compost heap. Inside your home, investigate behind appliances, under sinks and in vanity cabinets, along the edges of carpets, and underneath furniture. If you have a basement, crickets could be hanging out anywhere, but be sure to check locations where you store seasonal items and clothing.
3. Reach for the vacuum.
Enlist your vacuum in any area where you suspect crickets. Even if you don’t capture adult bugs, you may well get their tiny eggs, which is crucial to preventing a more serious problem. Empty the vacuum dirt cup or bag immediately outdoors when you’re done.
RELATED: How to Get Rid of Silverfish
4. Break out the boric acid
Often used as a pesticide, this weak monobasic Lewis acid of boron can be effective against crickets and other insects. It typically comes in powder, pellet, and tablet form, and should be placed in areas where crickets nest. Keep pets and children away from these areas—if accidentally ingested, it’s highly unlikely to be fatal but could cause vomiting and other flu-like symptoms.
5. Stick it to ‘em!
Sticky traps and glue boards can also catch crickets—and you can even DIY your own. Fill a jar with a 1 to 10 mixture of molasses and water. The sweet smell will attract the pests, the stickiness will trap them, and the water will ultimately drown them. If these techniques fail, try a store-bought pesticide spray, following directions closely and only using the product in likely cricket nesting zones, like under the kitchen sink.
6. Seal ‘em out
Cracks and holes in the masonry, ripped window screens, and doors that don’t close firmly are all a welcome mat to crickets. Make the effort to button up your home’s exterior using caulks, expanding foam, sealants, rubber trim, and patching compounds. Once you seal these points of entry, crickets will have less opportunity to get in.
7. Manage moisture.
Reduce areas of moisture in and around your house. Repair leaky faucets and appliances that use water. Ensure there’s ample ventilation in a crawl space and the basement. Invest in a robust dehumidifier for the basement.
8. Rethink your lighting
Though crickets nest and lay eggs in dark places, these insects are nonetheless attracted to bright lights at night. Consider altering the use of outdoor lighting near your home. Switch to motion sensor-activated fixtures or replace white bulbs with an amber-colored anti-bug bulbs. Sodium vapor bulbs are also less likely to draw crickets.
9: Do preventative outdoor maintenance
Ensure that your home’s immediate surroundings hold as few cricket enticements as possible. In the yard, keep the grass neatly mowed and appropriately watered and the flower beds weeded. Prune trees and shrubs, especially those near your home’s foundation. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from your home. And don’t forget to clear your gutters; they’re a notorious pest harborage.
If crickets are driving you crazy and you still want more info about how they got in and how to get rid of them, see the answers to these common questions.
How do you get rid of a cricket in the house?
If you hear loud chirping indoors, it may be an adult male cricket calling for a mate. Follow the sound as quietly as you can, so as not to startle the insect—if you do, it can jump a good 3 feet! It’s possible to catch the cricket with your bare hands and release it outside, but wash your hands well afterwards. You can also leave a plastic bottle with a small amount of soda or other sweetened drink inside. The cricket is likely to crawl in but will have trouble getting out.
Why do I have crickets in my house?
House crickets tend to live outside in warm weather but look for a way inside come autumn, when temperatures drop. If there are cracks along your home’s foundation, tears in window screens, or poorly closing doors and windows, crickets can enter with ease.
What season do crickets go away?
Crickets are active in warm seasons, and the sound of their chirping is the male’s mating call often heard on summer nights. They typically die off in the fall, but the problem is, cricket eggs overwinter and hatch a whole new generation in the spring.
How long do crickets live?
The lifespan of the average cricket is from spring to fall.
RELATED: How to Get Rid of Spiders
Like fireflies, crickets are a sign of summer and the sound of their chirping can be quite pleasant outdoors on a warm night. Unfortunately, they can be destructive indoors, nibbling on carpets, upholstered furniture, bedding, and clothing. Use the smart strategies in this guide to get rid of crickets in and around your home quickly!