In real life, crickets can be a real pest as they keep you awake at night and chew on the fabrics and plants in and around your home.
Crickets are recognizable by their long antennae, distinct hind legs, chirpy call, and the long ovipositors in the females. There are over 900 species of crickets, and they are found all over the world except for where it is bitterly cold most of the time. They range in size from tiny, delicate tree crickets to large (over 2 inches) bull crickets.
While there are over a dozen species in Nebraska, the most common kinds of crickets in Omaha are house crickets and field crickets. House crickets are a lighter tan with darker brown markings, and field crickets are a darker brown. Both are about 0.75 – 1 inch long in size. Despite the names, you can find either one in your home – you may even bring crickets in yourself, as they are often sold as fishing bait or food for insectivorous pets.
There is a less commonly found kind of cricket called a mole cricket; it is a little larger and the subterranean nymph stage can cause damage to your lawn.
Field crickets eat animal remains and plant matter. As long as the population does not get too large, they are useful to have in your yard or garden, because they eat the eggs and pupae of insect pests.
House crickets eat fallen food; they are very likely to be found near kitchens because of a ready supply of fallen crumbs. However, in their search for edibles, they may end up chewing on natural fiber fabrics like wool, cotton, or silk, causing holes in your clothing or linens. They may also chew on wallpaper or books.
Crickets and Humans
Crickets are used as food in several countries, where they are served deep-fried as snacks. They are being explored by farmers in other countries as potential sources of protein for market. They are popular live foods for carnivorous pets like lizards, tarantulas, and small snakes. Owners of these animals must be careful not to let their pet’s dinner escape and become a hassle.
In Japan and China crickets themselves are kept as pets and good luck charms. In China, cricket fighting is a traditional sport.
Different cultures have different superstitions about crickets. In some cultures, they are omens – depending on the kind of cricket, they could mean anything from ‘money is coming’ to ‘death will visit’. In others, crickets are symbols of good luck, or they may be used to invite wellness into a home.
The chirp of a cricket can be used to tell the temperature: Count the number of chirps they make in one minute, divide by 4 (or just count the number of chirps in 15 seconds) and then add the number 40 to reach the outside temperature in Fahrenheit.
Omaha Cricket Habits
As is well known by anyone who has tried to sleep through the loud courting song of male crickets, they are mostly nocturnal. They have good hearing; instead of having ears placed on their heads, their sound receptors are on their front legs.
In an attempt to attract females, court them, celebrate finding a mate, or warn off other males, male crickets make loud, high-pitched chirping sounds by rubbing their forewings together. They can make up to 30 chirps a minute, and they can be very loud. Outdoors, people often like the sound as a sign of summer (at least when they first emerge). Close to your house or inside, it is irritating and can make it hard to sleep.
What To Do
Normal-sized cricket populations don’t usually reach pest proportions. While populations are usually manageable, sometimes they explode. Crickets are rapid and efficient breeders, and if conditions allow for more eggs to grow to adulthood or something happens to remove their predators, you can end up with a huge, unmanageable horde of crickets very quickly. To keep your cricket population in check:
Carefully inspect your home. Seal up any cracks along windows, doors, or other spaces you may find. Clean your gutters and make sure your dryer vents are screened.
Keep the grass and weeds cut short around your home. Decrease hiding places by removing brush piles, wood piles, and other stacks of items or materials.
Make your yard bird-friendly, as birds eat crickets. Your cat may also enjoy catching them – but that might discourage the birds.
You can usually catch crickets by laying out glue traps lightly sprinkled with cornmeal bait. If that doesn’t work, you should consider having pest control spray around your home’s perimeter or any entry points.
For advice and help in dealing with your Omaha cricket invaders, contact Miller Pest & Termite.