Those Creepy Camel Crickets Are Baaack!
By Chris Williams on September 21, 2015.
Every year about this time we get those creepy, long-legged crickets in our lower level. I think they look like spiders, except they jump, which makes them even creepier. Why do they come inside every fall and how can we keep them out?H. K., North Andover, MA
You’re right, it is the time for camel cricket invasions. Because they look like spiders to some (not to me), they also are referred to by the rather humorous name of “sprickets,” and in some regions they are called stone crickets or cave crickets (see “Jumping Spiders” Are Really Camel Crickets).
Camel crickets can be found outside in dark, damp areas such as debris piles, wood piles, garden sheds, or under A/C units. Once they get inside, they usually end up in basements, laundry rooms, utility closets, garages, and crawlspaces where they sometimes feed on and damage fabrics or clothes, especially those that are soiled.
Camel Crickets Occupy Cool, Damp, Dark Places
Camel crickets are one of our fall-invading insects. They move inside in late summer or fall for the same reason as the others, to find protection from weather changes, including outside conditions that are becoming too dry. Camel crickets require damp, humid conditions so drier indoor air doesn’t always agree with them. They may not survive for very long unless they end up in a very damp area indoors.
It’s the Jumping We Can’t Stand!
What really creeps people out about camel crickets is that instead of jumping away from you when they are startled, they tend to jump right at you! And they jump high, as someone said “like insects on pogo sticks.” They also tend to jump all at once banging into walls, so if you have several in a small space, it sounds like popcorn popping.
Here’s How to Discourage Camel Cricket Invaders
The best ways to avoid the camel cricket invasion are to 1) have an exterior pesticide treatment around the foundation, 2) clean up piles of wood, leaves, stones, and debris around your home’s foundation, and thin out ivy or other dense ground covers, 3) pest-proof and seal around doors and other places where crickets could enter, and 4) reduce humidity and moisture in indoor areas that camel crickets frequent.
The good things about camel crickets are that they don’t chirp and they don’t fly like other crickets. They don’t bite, and although they are active at night, they are not attracted to lights. If it wasn’t for that unsettling high jumping, we could almost live with them. If you can’t, give Colonial Pest a call. We do pests so you don’t have to!