The house cricket has become a common occurrence in many countries; it’s reaches now extending out of eastern Asia. This is largely due to the travel of humans, in which these creatures are unwittingly carried. Once kept as pets in China, these small, gray or brown crickets may come into your home seeking shelter. They may also be brought into the home or garden as fishing bait or a food source for other exotic pets. House crickets can be stored in a living state for a few weeks before use.
A house cricket can grow up to less than an inch in length and you can distinguish a female by her long spout, called an ovipositor, which extends from her rear. House crickets are very common in Florida (but not the peninsula) and southern California, on beaches or around areas of water where many people have left behind living bait. Populations have also established themselves amongst tall grass and are often mistaken for grasshoppers.
Do crickets bite? Yes and no. There are some cricket species that do bite. This is rare and is usually happens when pet owners handle crickets as they feed them to their pets.
House Cricket Identification
A common house cricket is fairly small in size. They range up to one inch in length, with the males slightly larger in the torso than their female counterpart. They may range in color depending on their location. This is usually anywhere from a light yellow to a dark brown color, but they are sometimes gray. House crickets have flattened bodies and long antennae and produce a recognizable chirping song. There are about 900 known species in existence.
Both males and females have a set of wings that cover their back. A house cricket is easy to identify by their long, protruding back legs, which are able to catapult them into higher ground but may also be misidentified as grasshoppers. Grasshoppers appear very similar but larger in appearance. A male house cricket may also be identified by their song. It is usually females who come inside the home, however, seeking a safe and quiet place to lay their eggs or shelter during this period of vulnerability.
House Cricket Habitat
The house cricket is most common to areas that have tall, long grasses and a moderate to warm climate. Crickets are often very difficult to find due to their ability to camouflage to their surroundings. They flourish in temperatures of 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit but can also be found in much cooler climates. The house cricket is very common on the beaches of Florida and other fisheries as pests, where fishermen discard bait at the end of the day. This bait, or the house cricket, can help support the local ecosystem but may quickly become a pest if the conditions are right for survival and reproduction.
House Cricket Life Cycle
The mating season takes place in late summer to early fall. This is when a female house cricket will lay her eggs. When the weather cools, the eggs will remain stoic until they hatch in springtime. A female house cricket will spend the majority of her time laying eggs while the males are usually in search of an available female – these are lustful creates and will also mate all year round if possible.
Male house crickets seek out their female mates by calling for their attention. This repugnant sound can be heard for many miles. Once they have mated, the female will seek to find a quiet spot to lay her eggs. This is usually in sand or moss. The eggs will hatch within a few long weeks and will produce a smaller version of the parents from within.
A young house cricket may only take two to three months to reach maturity. They are born mostly complete, and simply grow to their adult size and maturity. They do not have an insar stage like many other insects and do not have any special requirements other than safety and a food source. Their wings develop quickly after hatching and signals maturity and independence.
House Crickets and Humans
Some people, usually in eastern cultures, choose to keep these singing creatures as pets. The songs are broken down into four distinct calls which are; the calling song, which used to find mates, the courting song, which is used to attract mates, the aggressive song, which is used to defend mates, and a celebratory song, which is sung after copulation.
Unknown to many, a house cricket may bite a human in self-defense. However, the bite will usually not break the skin and they do not carry disease; it may just be an unpleasant, if not unusual, story to tell. If you need to handle crickets, make a little house with your hands so the cricket can’t get out or won’t get squashed, and as long as they don’t panic, you will be safe from their teeth.
House Cricket Control
A house cricket is not harmful but may become a pest when their numbers escalate in your home or garden. If you wish to reduce a population count quickly, you can eliminate them easily with baits which are labeled for use in cockroach or earwig control or you can purchase cricket bait for their specific use. It is important to read and adhere to the instructions available with the products.
You can also prevent house crickets from returning by installing a few preventive measures.
Environment: By keeping grasses short, and away from the exterior of your home you can hep prevent accidental invasion. Reduce areas of thick or wet foliage, such as bushes an trees, to deter the house cricket from settling.
Maintenance: To prevent house crickets from coming into your home, seal any cracks that allow entry, paying close attention to areas around doors and windows and openings such as dryer vents and apply screening if necessary.
Green methods: Sticky traps can capture house crickets without toxic chemicals and is recommended as a green method of pest control. Removal of the house cricket can be carried out systematically in the home.
House Cricket Entomology
The house cricket, or Acheta domestic, belongs to the animalia kingdom under the arthropoda phylum. They are largely classed as insecta, or insects, and belong to the grylllidae family. They are significant to the aceta genus and archeta domestica species. This species of house cricket is also known as a “true cricket,” due to its form. They are however, closely related to grasshoppers and may be misidentified as such on occasion.