When Cricket Infestations Become Extensive

Crickets, cicadas, grasshoppers, locusts, and katydids are well known for producing sounds that are audible to humans over large areas during the warmer months. Most species belonging to these insect groups see males use specialized organs to produce their sounds, or “mating songs,” to be more precise. With the exception of several cricket species, insects that produce mating songs are not considered pests of homes and buildings.

It is not uncommon for multiple homes in residential areas to become infested with massive amounts of cricket pests simultaneously. These area-wide cricket invasions often occur in urban and suburban areas located near landfills, or in response to prolonged drought. However, the “house cricket,” and multiple species of “field crickets”often establish sizable infestations within single homes. In fact, house crickets frequently establish indoor infestations where they reproduce and maintain a permanent presence unless they are eradicated by means of a pest control program.

The house cricket, Acheta domesticus, can be found throughout the US and much of Canada, and most field cricket species that are known pests of homes inhabit much of eastern North America. Both house and field cricket pests congregate within dark, enclosed and moist areas within homes, such as basements, in cupboards beneath sinks, within wall voids in bathrooms, and in attics. In many infestation cases, cricket pests are solely a nuisance, but they often damage property, sometimes to an economically significant degree. The most commonly damaged items include paper and most types of fabrics, including clothing, carpeting and books.

In upstate New York, field crickets generally invade homes in large numbers during the fall to escape the cold, but they quickly die due to lack of nourishment. House crickets, on the other hand, can proliferate in homes where infestations can become severe, and the stench of rotting cricket carcasses in wall voids often makes costly removal projects necessary. Cricket damage to fabrics appears as large holes, and they inflict holes in paper that vary in size. Pest control professionals often address severe house and field cricket infestations with baits containing foods that are attractive to the pests, including bran and molasses.

Have you ever been kept up at night by the persistent chirping of indoor crickets?

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