The crickets are coming

LSU AgCenter News
July 14, 2011 at 11:36 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The crickets are coming
Mark Robinson/Flickr
By Rene’G. Schmit, LSU AgCenter County Agent

The cricket population is booming. It is not unusual that when we see an abundant population of grasshoppers, we tend to also see an abundant population of field crickets. Although crickets forage in fields, ditches or areas where tender weeds are plentiful, crickets often will abandon ditches and fields when dry weather causes weeds to become hard and less appetizing.  Unfortunately as crickets search for a more suitable environment, quite often some end up accidentally in residential homes.

Crickets inside the home can be destructive to silks and linen but generally cause no problems other than an annoyance due to their constant chirping.  Crickets are nocturnal and the chirping sound, made by rubbing their wings together, occurs most often during night-time hours. Locating crickets inside the home often presents a challenge as they always seem to stop chirping as you walk near.  Controlling them indoors however, is easy through the use of simple non-chemical methods.

Since crickets require a steady supply of fresh water, they will drown easily in a shallow dish with a few pieces of dog food put in a shot glass in the middle of the saucer.  Another method that is often successful involves sprinkling corn meal on to a sticky trap and placing it near where you hear the chirping sound.  Generally within a day or two the cricket finds its way to the trap and is caught.Cricket infestations are seasonal and generally occur in summer or fall.  However, several steps can be taken by homeowners that can help reduce the opportunity for crickets to enter the home during periods when field crickets are on the move.  These steps include:

1. Make sure all doors, windows and screens fit tightly.

2. Caulk or seal tightly cracks and crevices inside the house that might provide ultimate hiding places.

3. Keep piles of wood, brush, bricks and other objects from being stacked too close to the house.

4. Keep weeds and other debris away from the house.

5. Keep garbage cans covered, frequently emptied, and located away from the foundation.

6. Use yellow incandescent lights for outdoor lighting to reduce attraction of crickets.

In situations where control may be needed to reduce outdoor populations, apply products containing Bifenthrin or Hydramethylnon. When using any insecticidal product always be sure to read the label for providing a safe and effective use.

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