Crickets as Pets
In the Walt Disney film Mulan, Cri-kee the cricket is considered to be a luck charm for Mulan's family. The idea was based on the traditional Chinese custom of keeping crickets in cages in the home for luck.
Many Native American tribes also thought that crickets brought good luck, and the belief holds true for many Americans today, who believe that it is bad luck to kill a cricket in the house or harm a cricket at all.
Despite those beliefs, the incessant chirping of a cricket in one's home can quickly become quite annoying, especially when it only goes quiet when the search for it begins. In fact, that was one of the very reasons that the Chinese kept crickets in their homes - because the insects stopped chirping at a person's approach, its silence gave an alert that someone was coming.
Crickets as PeSts
Like millipedes and centipedes, crickets are considered to be only occasional invaders of homes or other buildings. That is because they prefer to live outdoors and don't survive well or breed indoors. However, they will enter structures in search of shelter if weather becomes inclement, or if they just accidently happen to hop through an open door, window or other opening.
Because crickets are attracted to warmth, they are most likely to be found in kitchens or near sources of warmth, such as the furnace or water heater. Once inside, they are also likely to burrow into cracks and behind baseboards.The House Cricket:
- is about 3/4 to 1 inch long.
- has a light yellowish brown body with 3 dark bands on the head and long, pointed wings.
- eats almost anything
- will chew on and damage certain fabrics, paper, rubber and foods.
- is 1/2 to 3/4 inch long.
- has a dark brown to black body with curved wings.
- feeds on plants as well as fabrics.
- are attracted to lights at night.
A cricket or two in the home will rarely cause any damage, but high populations can be of concern because of their tendency to chew.
To control a cricket or two in the home:
- If harming or killing the cricket does not concern you, place glue boards in the areas of the room where chirping is heard. Use corn meal in the center of the board as bait, and the cricket should be captured within a day or two.
- If the cricket can be found, it can also be vacuumed up. The vacuum should then be emptied or bag thrown away outside the home.
If a heavy infestation has developed, there are some sprays and baits that are available through retail outlets and are listed for control of crickets, especially for heavy infestations. The insecticide is sprayed on entry points, baseboards, and in garage and basement areas, or the bait placed in non-food areas. When using any chemical, be sure to purchase those labeled for the insect you are attempting to control and the area it is to be use, and read and follow all label directions.
Crickets can only enter the home if there is a point of entry, and they can only survive if conditions allow. Thus to prevent infestations:
- Caulk or otherwise seal all potential entry points, such as cracks in the foundation, and gaps around doors and low windows.
- Keep the foundation and immediate perimeter of the home free of grass, weeds, and mulch.
- Never store firewood or other organic material or debris near the home. Reduce harborage by setting trash cans up on bricks.
- Use yellow sodium-vapor lighting outdoors rather than white or mercury vapor lights. When possible, place lights on poles with the lighting directed toward the door or area you wish to light. (This will draw insects to the light source rather than to your opening door.)
- Inside the home, reduce clutter, piles, etc. to reduce potential harborage and hiding areas.