Field crickets are out and about this year. Warm temperatures and recent rains serve as a trigger for cricket flights.
Crickets are normally an outdoor insect, usually found under rocks, logs or any crack or crevice. However, they can sometimes enter our homes, and businesses--- mainly under doorways and windows. Crickets feed on all organic matter, including decaying plant material and fungi. Since cricket’s breakdown plant materials, they are considered beneficial by renewing soil minerals. They are also a food source for many animals such as spiders, ground beetles, birds, lizards and small rodents. However, due to their large populations and the male’s mating song, some people wish to control them.
1. Caulk or seal cracks and gaps that are found in the foundation, around doors, windows, and garage doors.
2. Trim weeds and tall grass growing near the foundation.
3. Remove firewood, brush, rotting wood, boxes, bricks, stones and other objects from around the structure, in order to reduce the number of harborage areas.
4. For crickets found inside the home, vacuum or sweep up and then discard them.
5. Turn off your outside lights as early in the evening as possible or replace the bulbs with low-pressure sodium vapor lamps or yellow incandescent ‘bug lights’ which aren’t as attractive to crickets as brighter light sources.
Insecticides should only be considered as a last resort due to safety and environmental concerns, and even then only as a partial solution to the problem. If a severe infestation exists, there are granular products that can be used for control, such as those containing hydramethylnon.
There are also chemicals that can be sprayed outdoors to provide a barrier around homes, such as those containing pyrethrins or bifenthrin. There are also products that can be applied in indoor and outdoor cracks and crevices, such as those containing boric acid.
Remember to dispose of dead crickets to reduce the smell and decrease the likelihood of ants feeding on the dead crickets.
The good news is the heaviest mating flight, which is what these infestations are, only last a week or two.
If you have any questions, please contact the Erath County Extension Office at 254-965-1460.
Lonnie Jenschke is an Erath County extension agent.