Crickets are well-known relatives of cockroaches and katydids. Like katydids, male crickets sing in the summer by moving hard parts of their wings together; the males are calling females for mating.
They develop with gradual metamorphosis; during some periods, adults and nymphs share the same harborage and food with grasshoppers.
The most commonly-seen crickets are field crickets; adults are very dark and about one inch long.
Eggs are laid toward the end of summer in moist soil of roadside ditches, meadows and fields, along fences; and in dry weather, they are laid in soil cracks, where adult crickets find some moisture for egg laying as well as for themselves.
Eggs are injected into soil by the female using a long, straight appendage called an ovipositor. The eggs overwinter and hatch in spring. Crickets feed on plants, and mature in July and August. When weeds begin to harden and die and rain is sparse, crickets often leave their ditches and fields; they move out in massive invasions. This is the time they come into homes and buildings.
Entry into structures is most always under doors and through opened windows. Field cricket populations are cyclical. Some years great numbers find their way across parking lots and into malls and office buildings. Many years of low cricket populations may follow. Other crickets like the house cricket, and the very small dark brown
Nemobius, also have cycles of build up and movement into structures.
CAMEL OR CAVE CRICKETS
This humpbacked insect is more closely related to katydids than to crickets. It is mottled brown and wingless with very long legs and antennae. Cave crickets are often compared to spiders, but the resemblance is only superficial. Cave crickets prefer dark damp or cool places like basements, crawl spaces, and garages. They seldom cause damage.
- Locate the egg laying sites where populations build up, if possible.
- Look near patches of weeds, soil cracks, at the base of plants, or in grass.
- Inspect basements, closets, pantries.
- Caulk, tighten, and weather strip basement and ground floor doors and windows to keep crickets out of houses. Thin plantings next to building foundations.
- Keep grass short during cricket activity to discourage the insects and reduce cover in case pesticide sprays are needed.
- Ventilate and remove materials that provide hiding places for cave crickets in crawl spaces and garages.