New Jersey Cricket Control
Crickets are common insects that make a distinctive high-pitched chirping sound to attract mates. There are many different types of crickets – over 900 species. Some of the most commonly seen crickets are black ones and green ones, but they are found in all different colors and sizes. They are closely related to grasshoppers and sometimes confused for each other. They have long bodies, 2 wings, short legs in front and longer bent knees in the back, antennas on the front of the head.
The most distinctive feature of crickets is their chirping sound. Crickets create this noise by rubbing their wings, which have grooves like a hair comb on their edges, together. In almost all cricket types it is only the males that chirp. The chirping is done for different reasons with distinct calls for each. First, the male crickets make a chirp that calls out to females while also warding off rival males. This is the loudest call – the one most noticed by humans. Then there is a courting chirp – a softer wooing sound to attract females. After a mating there is also another, different brief chirp. How romantic. Finally there is a more belligerent warning chirp when the antennas of the cricket detect the presence of another male nearby.
Interesting facts about cricket chirps: The rate of the chirps can change depending upon the temperature. This is due to the fact that they are cold-blooded animals, so temperature affects their physical activity levels. Crickets are then able to “hear” the chirps of others through a membrane on their knees.
What do Cricket’s Eat?
Crickets are omnivores and scavengers. They can eat almost anything, but naturally are drawn to organic materials like leaves, decaying plants, seeds and seedlings. They’ll eat crumbs of human food, or even cat and dog food. They have been known to even eat other crickets that are dead or weak.
Who Eats Crickets?
Crickets have many predators who feast on them. They are commonly bred and fed to reptiles like lizards, frogs and snakes. Crickets only defense is to try to outrun a predator. They will turn sharply and quickly – like a cockroach, or jump high like a grasshopper when they feel threatened. Feeding crickets nutritious meals before feeding them to pets is called gut-loading. Birds, bats and rodents also eat them. Interestingly, they are a staple in human diets in various cultures.
Mating & Lifespan
Crickets mate in summer and lay eggs in autumn. A female cricket can lay up to 200 eggs which leads to large multiplying factors. The eggs hatch in the spring. Crickets have a lifespan of less than a year – usually around 6 months. They are adults after about 3 months. Soon after mating and lying of eggs, in late autumn they will die off. They also cannot survive in cold temperatures below 32 F.
Crickets Habitat and Behavior
Crickets are one of the most common types of insects on earth and are found all over – on every continent except Antarctica. They have many different habitats, from trees, grasses, burrows, under rocks, deserts, etc. In general they prefer damp dark places. This is why in households crickets are often found in basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms and other darker, damper spots. Crickets are mostly nocturnal. They tend to be mostly solitary – only sharing nests as youngsters and caring for their young briefly. Otherwise, too many crickets sharing the same space could become aggressive and cannibalistic towards each other.
Crickets in Popular Culture
There are many examples of crickets used in popular culture. Think of the Disney character Jiminy Cricket who plays the role of the conscience in Pinocchio. There was a children’s book about The Cricket in Times Square as well as a children’s magazine called Cricket. The sound of crickets chirping is used throughout TV, movies and radio to indicate nighttime. It is also used in a more comical sense to demonstrate silence and no responses to a question.
Cricket Invasions Caused by Weather
Occasionally, certain parts of the world will see cricket “invasions.” In 2013 parts of Oklahoma and Texas experienced a cricket invasion. This was caused by weather conditions. They had an unusually warm winter where the temperatures did not dip low enough to kill off the crickets and may have allowed for a second annual breeding season. Then a dry hot spring and early summer, followed by rains in July and August. This led to population explosions and the pictures of black crickets piling up dead and taking over ceilings and floors are horrifying. This kind of cricket population explosion is rare though.
Do Crickets Cause Damage?
Crickets are not known to harm people or carry any diseases. Crickets have been known to eat paper, linens, silks, and all kinds of food scraps. But for the most part they are just a nuisance in households because of their chirping. They will lay eggs in dark hidden corners. They might be attracted into homes by bright lights or food/water sources.
If you think that you have crickets around your home or property, Alliance Pest Services is your local pest removal company to ensure that your home is free from crickets and other unwanted insects and rodents.