Do Crickets Do Any Damage Inside?
By Chris Williams on October 7, 2014.
We have those shiny black crickets in our house again. They somehow get in every fall. My kids think they’re pretty creepy but I’m mostly concerned about whether they do any damage in the house. What do they feed on? M.S., Brookline, MA
The shiny black crickets that you refer to are called field crickets, although most of our cricket complaints at this time of year are about camel crickets (see Meet the Camel Cricket…or Spricket). Once they find their way inside, field crickets will hide in warm, dark, damp areas, usually in the basement or ground floor. Field crickets are active at night, and can fly as well as jump.
Crickets’ Feeding Can Damage Household Items
Field crickets come in from outside where they live in mulch, vegetation, woodpiles, or other protection, often right around the foundation of your home. They have a varied diet. Outside, crickets feed on vegetables, fruits, and other plants, garbage, insects, and soiled fabrics and papers. They move indoors when outside vegetation begins to die in the fall.
Indoors, field crickets will feed on the same items, or whatever they can find. Inside a home, food crumbs and dry pet food will supplement their diet. Crickets have been known to cause feeding damage to fabrics, furs, paper, leather, wood, and rubber. Common hiding places for crickets are in boxes of old rags, clothing, books, or papers. When fabrics and other items are damaged, it is usually because they are soiled with food stains, sweat, urine, or other bodily secretions. The crickets are attracted to the material because of the food value in the stains.
Crickets are also known for damaging wallpaper, especially old wallpaper. They will feed on the starch in the wallpaper glue, damaging the wallpaper in the process. They can also feed on the glue in book bindings. Feeding crickets tend to leave holes or shred materials rather than consuming them entirely. Cricket feeding damage can be easily confused with damage from silverfish, carpet beetles, or clothes moths. Cricket damage in a home is not common and depends on how many crickets there are and how hungry they are.
You Can Keep Crickets Outside
Keeping the area around your home’s foundation clear of mulch, groundcover, and debris will help eliminate hiding places for crickets. You can also keep them out of your home by looking for and sealing gaps around doors or windows, foundation vents, window wells, and other cracks that they are using to get inside (see How to Keep Crickets Out of Your House).
Rely on an Outside Foundation Treatment
Another way to solve your fall cricket problem is to have a pesticide treatment around the outside of your home to intercept crickets trying to get inside. At Colonial Pest, we offer a Preventative Maintenance Program of twice yearly, seasonal exterior treatments. Our barrier treatment keeps crickets and other invading insects out of your home and provides free service for any other pest problems throughout the year. Give us a call today! We treat outside to keep pests from getting inside.
Photo: Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org
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