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Fall Cricket Invasion

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on August 11, 2010

The invasion of the crickets has begun.  Every year in Texas, around the end of summer and into fall, black field crickets appear in huge numbers.  They pile up in big piles in doorways, get into houses and destroy things, and generally make a nuisance of themselves.  Why, and what can you do about it?

Field crickets lay their eggs in the fall.  These hatch into wingless nymphs.  The nymphs grow and go through several molts, or instars, over about three months before becoming winged adults.  At this point, they go on mating flights at night.  This is when crickets pile up and cover everything.

After the mating flights, the female crickets lay their eggs in the soil.  The eggs remain dormant and hatch the following spring, restarting the cycle.  A single female can lay from 150-400 eggs.  Firm, bare soil is preferred as a place for the eggs to be laid.

The problem with these cricket pile-ups is that inevitably, some get in the house.  There, they chew on clothing, drapes, wall coverings, and other cloth.  Whet they do not chew on, they poop on, staining the cloth badly.

Outside, in town, you see huge piles of crickets early in the morning that have died.  These piles are unsightly and can smell as the crickets decay.  Daily removal of the dead crickets is necessary from an aesthetic standpoint as well as a public health one.

Crickets are attracted to lights.  If huge piles of crickets are ending up outside your house or place of business, you will have to reduce the outdoor lights until the problem has passed.  There are yellow bug lights you can use that still give some light but are not as attractive to the crickets.  Low pressure sodium vapor lamps are also less attractive to crickets.

To prevent an invasion indoors, you must find and seal all cracks, crevices, and other places the crickets can get in.  If a hole is necessary for ventilation, stuff it with steel wool.  This allows for air circulation but keeps the crickets out.

There are baits you can spread around your house or business that the crickets will eat and then die.  You still have to sweep up the crickets, but there are fewer of them to sweep over time.  There are also sprays you can spray around the outside of your building at potential entry points.  Inside control with pesticides is not very effective and is not recommended.  Killing the crickets before they get in, or making it impossible to get in by sealing the building well, is the key to control there.

The annual cricket invasion has begun.  Another rite of fall.  Now if the temperature would just drop below a hundred, I could get excited about the turning of the season.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff August 11, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Wow, I had no idea that crickets are such a nuisance in Texas. This doesn’t happen to us in Illinois, though once every 17 years we get a huge cicada invasion. Good luck keeping the crickets out!

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Stephanie Suesan Smith August 12, 2010 at 5:06 am

Some years, businesses have huge piles of them in front of their doors each morning. It is really disgusting.

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Kathy August 11, 2010 at 6:59 pm

It sounds like some kind of biblical plague. We have crickets in NY, but they aren’t anything like that. And we certainly don’t need to worry about 100 degree temperatures. I hope you have a lake nearby where you can use those crickets for fish bait.

Stephanie,

I think you found a niche for yourself that won’t have too many people rushing in to compete against you. I can’t believe you can write that well about such a unique topic.
Kathy recently posted..Becoming A Freelance Writer Is The Perfect Part Time JobMy Profile

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Stephanie Suesan Smith August 12, 2010 at 5:10 am

Thank you for the compliments. The crickets involved are black crickets, which fish do not like. Fish like gray crickets, which do not exhibit this behavior. Go figure.

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Cathy Dorsey October 10, 2010 at 4:55 am

I read your article with much interest, see, I live in San Antonio and I am 63 years old. This is the first time in my life that I have seen crickets in this mass. We had a lot of rain in the summer and the cricket invasion is massive. I would get up in the morning and there would be crickets everywhere in my apartment. They are really gross and they leave pieces of themselves everywhere, they are in my light covers and in the air conditioning vents. I always keep my patio light on but I am immediately going to turn it off, I did not know they were attracted to light so again thanks for the info.

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Stephanie Suesan Smith October 13, 2010 at 6:35 am

We have crickets in bulk every year here. They do seem to be worse this year, however. Glad the article helped.

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Lisa November 6, 2010 at 2:16 pm

I live in OH and I have to say the crickets this year were amazing, we walk our dog every weekend along a pond and the noise from them just drowns everything else out. Great article thanks for sharing.

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MaggieMae November 20, 2010 at 1:38 pm

I live in Southern Az. I have a home invasion of crickets from tiny little ones to large ones. Most are dead as my husband sprays. But I have had clothing ruined both with holes and stains.

What can we do?

Anyone know how to get the stains out of the clothing?

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Stephanie Suesan Smith November 20, 2010 at 1:46 pm

First, you need to get your husband to find where they are getting in your house and seal that crack. The spray is only treating the symptom, not the cause, of the problem. Then you need to consult with a dry cleaner’s to find out what will take the stain out. It is essentially fecal matter, but I am not a clothing person so can’t help there.

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Tanya June 10, 2012 at 7:33 am

I live in Louisiana and its June. We are over run with crickets. Sweeping them up by the dust pans every morning off my floors. I go to get dressed and have a cricket hanging on my shirt. Even had one to get into a light fixture. They didn’t wait for fall to visit.

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