Common House Crickets and How to Deal with Them
The “cricket on the hearth” could be a native field cricket, or one of two exotic species, as most common crickets or house crickets fall within three specie types. All go through incomplete metamorphosis, the nymphs resembling miniature adults. Here is how to tell them apart and how to discourage them from becoming a problem within your home.
U.S. field crickets make up 17 species in the genus Gryllus. All but one are native, big-headed, stocky, glossy blackish insects active at night. Males call from concealed locations such as burrows, or beneath stones or boards. They sometimes come indoors where their “singing” can keep you awake.
Acheta domesticus is the House Cricket, sold in bait shops and pet stores as food for other animals. It is probably native to southwestern Asia, but “wild” populations survive in the eastern U.S. (except the Florida peninsula) and southern California. This species resembles a pale brown, black-faced version of a field cricket.
Tropical House Crickets
The Tropical House Cricket, Gryllodes sigillatus, is likely native to Asia, but occurs here along the Gulf from Florida to California. This species is less robust than the other two “indoor” crickets. Males have wings with which to produce their song, but females are usually wingless. The antennae are very long (up to three times body length).
What do Crickets Eat?
All the crickets described here are omnivores, feeding on both vegetable and animal matter, dry or wet. They rarely become pests, but can be a noisy nuisance.
Preventing Crickets from Becoming a Nuisance
- Store vulnerable foodstuffs, including dry pet food, in metal, glass, or durable plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.
- Seal cracks and crevices to keep out crickets and other insects (and spiders).
- Repair or replace worn weather stripping on doors; mend holes in window screens.
- Inspect all items coming indoors from outside, especially potted plants, firewood.
- If you keep crickets as food for other pets, secure their enclosure to prevent escapees.
Find more articles on how to deal with bugs and pest around the home in our Common Household Pest Series.