These articles are written to apply to the northeastern
corner of Illinois. Problems and timing may not apply outside of this
Crickets a Common Nuisance
Around the Home
September 9, 1999
Crickets have been a common sight or sound around homes and buildings.
While an occasional cricket in and around the home may not be a big problem,
in some cases the population is large enough where control is needed.
Chances are the type of cricket you're seeing or hearing now is a field
cricket. Field crickets are most common near agricultural or grassy areas,
are usually black, and can be fairly large. Wings project back and look
like pointed tails. They prefer to be outdoors, but sometimes wander inside.
Field crickets are not capable of reproducing indoors. Most adult field
crickets will die off by the first freeze and 95 percent overwinter as
eggs in the soil.
The cricket found most often in the home is the house cricket. House
crickets are about 1/2 to 3/4-inch long, light yellowish-brown with three
dark bands on the head and have long thin antennae or "feelers."
They prefer warm areas and are often seen in cracks and crevices near
the fireplace, kitchen, and basement.
House crickets usually live outdoors during the summer but move into
buildings as fall approaches. They can lay eggs indoors, however, in crevices
in dark places. Both the adults and nymphs feed on a variety of fruits,
vegetables, cereals, and other crickets. It is possible, however, for
house crickets to feed on draperies, garments, and fabrics, especially
if they are soiled or saturated with perspiration. Adults can fly and
jump considerable distances.
Control measures for both the house and field cricket are basically the
same. Begin by minimizing the amount of plant material around building
foundations and entryways. Caulk and/or seal all cracks and crevices around
windows, doors, and in the foundation itself. Minimize the use of outdoor
lights as these will attract crickets from surrounding areas. Empty garbage
cans frequently and eliminate sources of moisture by fixing leaky pipes
and modifying damp areas. Keep firewood piles at least 1 or 2 feet from
the foundation. Indoors, crickets may be removed by vacuuming or by the
trusty fly swatter.
Insecticides may also be used to control crickets. Outdoors, contact
your local Extension office for current pesticide recommendations. Indoors,
there are ready-to-use household insect sprays for application to baseboards,
cracks, and door thresholds. Be sure to read and follow all label directions.