There are four common types of crickets: House crickets, mole crickets, field crickets and camel crickets. All these types are common nuisances in households. And like mole crickets, field crickets, and house crickets, there are over a hundred native and non-native species of camel crickets in the United States and Canada. Crickets are relatively harmless but can do damage in large quantities, such as eating through fabric or wood and so pest control is required. Camel cricket, in particular, will eat clothing. The damage crickets can inflict may be minimal, but they need to be identified properly so that the proper steps for cricket control are taken to keep these pests away.
How to Identify Camel Crickets
Camel crickets are light brown (tan) to dark brown in color and grow between 1-1 ½ inches long. They can even get up to four inches long! Unlike other types of crickets, camel crickets do not have wings. They are often referred to as spider crickets or cave crickets due to their resemblance to wolf spiders. Upon first glance, the two are similar in size and color.
Camel crickets have six long legs. Their hind legs are large and shaped like a drumstick which allows them to be excellent jumpers. The camel cricket’s torso has a humpbacked appearance. When startled, camel crickets will jump toward what frightens them instead of away. Be careful when leaning towards a camel cricket to examine it, as they will likely jump into your face.
Camel crickets are nocturnal and prefer dark and damp spaces. Homeowners are likely to find them in basements, garages, attics, crawl spaces, behind washing machines, and sheds. They are found outdoors in mulch, around the foundation of buildings, near air conditioning units, around stones, in wells, drainage pipes, woodpiles, and in debris.
Homeowners will not be led to a camel cricket in their home because the cricket is chirping. Camel crickets do not make noise. They do not have wings and cannot rub them together to create sounds as some crickets do. They have no other sound producing organs.
Camel crickets live through the winter, a process called overwintering, and lay their eggs in the spring, which will hatch between April and May. The young camel crickets referred to as nymphs, also over winter.
Camel crickets do not have fangs but will eat almost anything. They are omnivores and will eat both plants and insects. Camel crickets have been known to eat one another as well. They love to eat mold and fungi, which is why they prefer dark, cool places with moisture in the air; this is also how they get yet another nickname, the cave spider. Other popular substances the camel crickets consume are carpet, cardboard, drywall, and wood.
How to Control Camel Crickets
Camel crickets like dark, cool, moist areas. When it gets hot and dry outside, they will move into buildings to avoid the heat which is why they are frequently found in basements. Homeowners can keep crickets out of their homes with the use of a dehumidifier. It will keep moisture from building up indoors. Basements and attics should also be well ventilated.
Locate cracks along walls and windows inside and outside of the home. Make sure inspect the foundation thoroughly. Seal them with caulk or other types of sealants to block the crickets and other types of insects from entering. Another thing that should be sealed is the HVAC system, which many homeowners will overlook.
Any leaks in pipes should be repaired. Leaks can create the camel cricket’s desired habitat and also allow them a point of entry. Inspect the pipes in the kitchen and bathroom for leaks.
Add sticky traps in areas of the home where camel crickets have been found. When a cricket steps onto the trap, they will be unable to move off it. It is easy to pick up the trap to dispose of the cricket or release it away from the home. Place the traps behind the washing machine, under cupboards in the kitchen and sink, in the basement, and any crawl spaces.
Mulch in gardens should be around two inches thick or less. Mulch provides the perfect habitat for camel crickets as stated earlier. Reducing how much mulch is being used will make it harder for the cricket to make the garden their home. Too much sunlight will be streaming down on them, heating up the mulch.
Leaves should be raked and disposed of either by bagging them or burning them (make sure leaf burning is in compliance with town ordinances and check to see if there are current burn bans in place). The leaf piles provide the ideal environment for the crickets. Keep gutters clean of leaves and other debris.
If there are sprinklers in the yard, they should be pointed far from the house and other buildings such as sheds and detached garages. The crickets will be attracted to the water by the building and know it is a cooler place. They will eventually find ways into the building if cracks and holes have not been sealed yet.
A simple control method would be to get a cat. They will do the work! Cats are natural predators with hunting instincts. The cat will kill the crickets and do so happily. If the cat is exclusively indoors, adopt an outside cat to control the insect population outside and reduce the number of pests making their way inside.
Camel Cricket Round-Up
Camel crickets are attracted to dark, cool, and moist areas. They are relatively large in size and look like wolf spiders, giving them their other name, spider crickets. No one wants crickets inside their home or finding shelter nearby. They create a nuisance and can even cause damage to household items.
Crickets are easy to prevent or eliminate. There are various methods to controlling the crickets and keeping them away. Use sealants to seal entry points into basements, attics, crawl spaces, and other rooms they have been spotted. Purchase a dehumidifier to take the moisture out of the air.