Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Following the Field Crickets

As we walk outside in the evening, a new sound might greet us. This new sound might be a male cricket’s mating song, which is a high-pitched sound produced by the male cricket rubbing his front wings together to attract a female.
Adult field crickets are ½ to 1 ¼ inches long, black in color and have a stout body. They develop through simple metamorphosis with an egg, nymph and adult stage. The female cricket will deposit eggs into the soil. The eggs hatch into nymphs, which gain wings every time they molt. Several generations of crickets are produced every year.
Crickets feed on all organic matter, including decaying plant material and fungi. Since crickets breakdown plant materials, they are considered beneficial by renewing soil minerals. They are also a food source for many animals such as spiders, ground beetles, birds, lizards and small rodents.
Crickets are normally found outdoors, living under rocks, logs or in any crack or crevice. Since they live next to our homes, their song can become an irritant to homeowners. Also, they can enter our homes through such areas as doors and windows.

Some Control Options:

Some Non-chemical Suggestions:

1) Caulk or seal cracks and gaps that are found in the foundation, around doors, windows, and garage doors.
2) Trim weeds and tall grass growing near the foundation.
3) Remove firewood, rotting wood, boxes, bricks, stones and other objects from around the structure, in order to reduce the number of harborage areas.
4) For crickets found inside the home, vacuum or sweep up and discard them.

Some Chemical Control Suggestions:

If a severe infestation exists, there are granular products that can be used for control, such as those containing hydramethylnon. There are also chemicals that can be sprayed outdoors to provide a barrier around homes, such as pyrethrins or bifenthrin. There are also products that can be applied indoors and outdoors in cracks and crevices, such as those containing boric acid.

A field cricket, Gryllus sp. (Orthoptera: Gryllidae). Photo by Dr. Bart Drees, Professor and Extension Entomologist, Texas A&M University.

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