For the longest time, crickets have been part of our night meditation. The chirping sound they create from the rubbing of their wings is like a sweet lullaby that calms our senses and puts us into sleep. They are nocturnal animals and are often up all night just to mate and look for food. But what do they eat? What gives them the energy to produce that chirping sound all night?
What do crickets eat? Crickets eat both plants and meat. They are omnivorous creatures that typically feed on corn, nectar, seeds, grass, grains, fruits, small insects, and worms. However, the food they take may also depend on their type and place of habitat. Some of them even eat fabrics and clothing.
This article will let you know what food keeps the crickets up at night, understand these insects more by knowing their behavior, activities, different breeds, and the excellent ways on how to get rid of them.
What Is the Difference Between a Cricket and a Grasshopper?
Crickets can be distinguished from grasshoppers in the following manner:
- As to size: Crickets are generally smaller than grasshoppers. The former measures 0.1 to almost 2 inches, while the latter usually has a length of 2 to 3 inches.
- As to color: Crickets are brown or black, while grasshoppers are typically green. However, the latter may also come in other colors such as red, blue, and pink.
- As to the sound produced: Crickets rub their wings together in order to make a chirping sound while the grasshoppers rub their legs against their wings in order to create a flapping noise.
- As to diet: Crickets are largely omnivorous as they eat both plants and animals, while the majority of grasshoppers are herbivores and like to feed on grasses, green leaves, flowers, and plant stems.
- As to when active: Crickets are more active at night as they are nocturnal insects, while grasshoppers are active during the day.
- As to where they lay their eggs: Female crickets inject their eggs on the soil and plant stems while grasshoppers usually lay their eggs on the ground.
Can Crickets Fly?
Some crickets can fly, but not all of them have that ability. This is because some crickets have very short wings or have no wings at all. Examples of these species are the Jerusalem crickets and camel crickets.
What Do Crickets Eat?
Since crickets are omnivorous in nature, they eat both plants such as grains, fruits, and vegetables and animals like small insects and meat of dead faunas.
If you plan on nurturing crickets for the purpose of feeding your pet reptiles, it is important to provide these insects with healthy and nutritious food. Provisions like apples, oranges, carrots, leafy vegetables, and grains can be a good source of nutrients for crickets. Also, feeding them pet food or providing them with a commercial cricket diet can promote their optimum nutrition and wellness.
Can Crickets Bite?
Crickets have the ability to bite but only in rare circumstances. They seldom reach the human skin to puncture and make breaks on it. But when they do, various illnesses may be acquired by the host due to their ability to carry parasites such as salmonella and E. coli. Once these microorganisms are introduced into the bloodstream, any person bitten by affected crickets is at high risk for acquiring infection.
Are Crickets Nocturnal?
Crickets are known to be nocturnal creatures. They sleep during the day and spend their evenings looking for partners to mate and food to eat. This is also one of the reasons why they are overly attracted to lights.
How Do Crickets Make Noise?
Crickets are very popular for their chirping noises at night. It is produced when they rub their wings together or by rubbing their legs on their wings in some cases. It signals their desire to call and look for partners in order to perform the act of mating.
Different Types of Crickets | Identification, and Diet
The following are the different types of crickets, their identifying traits, and their diet:
|TYPE OF CRICKET||IDENTIFYING TRAITS||DIET|
|Camel Crickets||They are 2 inches in length and their legs are usually 3.9 inches long. These crickets have humps on their back and their legs are look like drumsticks. They are brownish in color and have long antennae and tibiae. However, they have no wings.||Plants, roots, fruits, insects, fungi, and fabric.|
|Field Crickets||Adult field crickets are usually 1 inch long and dark brown to black in color. They have well-developed wing structures and long hind legs, which they use for jumping. The immature field crickets are similar in appearance but have no wings.||Plants such as ragweed, crabgrass, and chicory, dried organic supplies, small fruits and seeds, and living and dead small insects.|
|Weta Crickets||They are large in size and weight and appear like katydid or long-horned grasshoppers. These crickets have spiny hind legs but have no wings.||Leaves, flowers, fruits, seed-heads, and lichens.|
|White-Kneed Crickets||They can be as long as 2 inches in length with a weight as heavy as 10 grams. Their hind legs are very extended, and their knees have white to yellowish patches.||Nuts, leaves, fruits, and dead animals.|
|Giant Crickets||They are almost 2 inches in length and have light brown to grayish hues. These types have small pointed spikes at their legs and thorax and have large, sharp jaws.||Plants and vegetables and dead insects.|
|Mormon Crickets||They can be as long as 3 inches and may appear in a variety of colors like brown, black, green, purple, and red. Their shields have colored markings, and their abdomens have striations.||Grains, crops, small insects, grasses, forbs, shrubs, and fruit trees.|
|Jerusalem Crickets||Their length may be up to 2 inches, and their bodies’ color may be yellowish to brown. They have big heads, but when you look at them frontally, their faces appear smaller.||Roots, tubers, leaves, small ants, and other crickets.|
|House Crickets||They typically measure 0.63 to 0.83 inches in length and are brownish to gray in color. The male and female species appear similar, but the latter have brown to black ovipositors while the former have prominent cerci.||Plants, living and dead insects, other crickets and fabrics and clothing made from wool, silk, cotton and synthetic textiles. They are also attracted to soiled clothes.|
|Parktown Prawn or King Crickets||Parktown prawns are 2- 3 inches in length and have orange to light brown bodies. They have long antennae, and their abdomens are filled with brown to black stripes.||Plants, fallen fruits, snails, slugs, moth larvae, dead birds, and pet feces.|
|Roesel’s Bush Cricket||The length of their bodies is 0.5 to 1.5 inches, while the color of their bodies is yellow to brown, although some have greenish hues. They also have yellow to green spots on their abdomen.||Grass seeds, meadows, tall grass swards, and small insects.|
|Australian Field Cricket||They can develop up to 1.2 inches long with a body-color ranging from brown to black. Australian field crickets have extended antennae and legs, which they use for jumping.||Cereal and pasture seed crops, soybean, sunflower, and other plant matters.|
How Do Crickets Get in the House?
Since crickets are entertained by lights, they would usually hop on areas where there is bright and heavy lighting. Once they spot these areas, they would look for ways to go near them. This could be through door openings, open windows, or holes and cracks in the house where they can conveniently enter. Therefore, it is advisable to replace your outdoor lights with a yellow one and repair the openings that can facilitate their entrance.
How to Get Rid of Crickets?
These are the effective ways of getting rid of crickets:
1. Prevent the entry of crickets by employing the following strategies:
- Trim and cut the weeds and grasses that are found near the foundations of your house.
- Repair the cracks, holes, and crevices in doors, windows, and other areas where the crickets could enter.
- Lessen the lighting in your outdoor areas and replace white, neon, and mercury vapor lights with yellow.
- Eliminate bushes, shrubs, firewood, and other debris and objects near the house.
2. Use insecticides in getting rid of crickets and their eggs and larvae.
- These products usually contain permethrin β-cyfluthrin or deltamethrin that are very potent in exterminating pests. It is typically sprayed and applied around the house and near the structural foundation for better effect.
3. Maintain the order and cleanliness of your house by doing the following techniques:
- Keep the damp areas around your house dry.
- Clean and arrange boxes, papers and belongings in such a way that these crickets would not have a hiding spot.
- Declutter and throw unnecessary materials and supplies.
Crickets may be harmless as they seldom bite, but their trait as a nuisance may be very stressful and burdensome. Although they do not cause serious damage to people and property, it is still beneficial to prevent their infestation by constantly cleaning your house and surroundings.
List of Sources
Grillons, True Crickets, Grillen. University of Michigan.
Hahn, J., Ascerno, M. (2018). Crickets. University of Minnesota.
House-Invading Crickets. University of Missouri.