Ah, crickets — nature’s relentless serenaders. They’re fine when they’re chirping away on a balmy summer night, but what happens when these hopping troubadours decide your home is the next big venue for their concert series? This is where our guide steps in with practical advice on how to get rid of crickets.
From concocting a simple yet effective molasses mixture to dialing up the cavalry (aka pest control professionals), we’re exploring a range of methods to show these uninvited guests the door. So, grab your notepad, and let’s dive into the world of cricket control.
- What Does a Cricket Look Like?
- How To Get Rid of Crickets in the House
- How To Get Rid of Crickets Outside
- Signs of Cricket Infestation
- FAQ About Cricket Extermination
What Does a Cricket Look Like?
With over 900 species out there, crickets come in many shapes and sizes. However, when you hear that familiar concert in your living room, it’s likely coming from the most common of them all — the house cricket, scientifically known as Acheta domesticus.
Here’s how to identify them:
- Body color: Light yellowish-brown
- Body length: Ranges from 3/4 inch to 7/8 inch
- Antennae: Long, acting as sensory organs
- Wings: Lay flat along the body
- Legs: Long back legs designed for jumping
- Habitat preference: Seek warm, moist environments, especially during colder temperatures
How To Get Rid of Crickets in the House
As the mercury dips and we reach for our sweaters and hot cocoa, crickets start looking for their own source of warmth, food, and water. Your cozy, moist home becomes the perfect winter getaway for them.
1. Make a Molasses Trap
Wondering how to kill crickets without getting your hands dirty? Try this sweet, simple solution — a homemade molasses trap:
- Step 1: Grab 3 tablespoons of molasses, two cups of water, and a mason jar or a bowl.
- Step 2: Combine the molasses and water in your chosen container. Stir it well.
- Step 3: Place the container in an area where you’ve seen or heard crickets. This could be in corners of rooms, near doorways, or in damp areas like basements or garages.
- Step 4: The sweet aroma of molasses acts as a siren call to crickets, luring them with the promise of a sugary feast. But once they hop in, they can’t hop out.
- Step 5: Remember to change the traps at least once a week.
You can also buy regular sticky traps on Amazon or from home improvement stores.
2. Use Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is a fine, white powder that might not look menacing at first glance, but it’s a force to be reckoned with for pesky insects. It’s made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms known as diatoms.
When insects come into contact with diatomaceous earth, it acts like microscopic razor blades, slicing through their exoskeletons. This leads to dehydration and, ultimately, the demise of house crickets.
Here’s what to do: Apply diatomaceous earth along cracks, crevices, floorboards, or any other areas where you’ve noticed cricket activity. Reapply every 1-2 weeks.
Pro tip: Always wear a dust mask when handling diatomaceous earth. Though it’s non-toxic, its fine particles can cause irritation to your nasal passages. Goggles are also a good idea to protect your eyes.
3. Vacuum Cricket Eggs
Crickets are prolific breeders. They lay their eggs in quiet, undisturbed areas, and before you know it, what was once a minor annoyance can turn into a full-blown invasion. Sometimes, the solution to a cricket infestation is as simple as reaching for your trusty vacuum cleaner or broom.
Target areas such as carpets, rugs, basements, and garages, and vacuum thoroughly. The cozy, warm fibers of carpets provide an ideal environment for crickets to deposit their eggs, and basements and garages are usually the entry points, perfect for crickets’ nests.
4. Use Boric Acid
If you’re still unsure how to kill a cricket, we present you with boric acid. Boric acid is a naturally occurring compound that’s been used for decades in pest control. It’s particularly effective against crickets, thanks to its ability to damage their nervous system upon ingestion.
Place strips of boric acid or boric acid pellets in areas where you’ve observed cricket activity. To increase effectiveness, consider mixing it with sugar. The sugar acts as bait, attracting crickets to the boric acid.
Warning: Do not place boric acid in areas where pets and kids are likely to hang out. Thoroughly read all instructions and warnings on the package before using it.
5. Seal Cracks to the Outside
One of the most effective long-term strategies to prevent a cricket infestation is to cut off their entry points. Here’s what you can do:
- Seal cracks in walls and around windows with appropriate caulks and sealants.
- Install rubber trims at the bottom of doors.
- Repair or replace window screens.
- Use expandable foam to seal larger gaps or holes, especially in areas like basements or attics.
- Cover vents with mesh screens.
Taking the time to seal up your home is an investment in both pest control and your overall home maintenance.
6. Kill Crickets With Insecticides
When the cricket situation in your home calls for a more direct approach, insecticides can be an effective solution. Many insecticides have a residual effect, meaning they continue to kill crickets for a period after application. Here are a few tips:
- Seek out products specifically labeled for killing crickets. This ensures that the formulation is suited to your specific pest problem.
- Apply the insecticide around potential entry points, such as doors, windows, and where utility lines enter your home, creating a barrier that crickets cannot cross without being exposed to the insecticide.
- Spray the insecticide in areas where you frequently see crickets. This includes baseboards, corners of rooms, and other dark, moist areas where crickets are likely to hide.
- Ensure proper ventilation in the area where you’re using the insecticide. This helps you avoid inhaling fumes or particles.
Warning: Before using any insecticide, it’s crucial to read and follow all instructions and safety warnings provided by the manufacturer.
7. Grab a Shoe
What kills crickets and other insects better than a shoe? If you spot a cricket and prefer a more immediate and chemical-free solution, a trustworthy shoe or a flyswatter can be effective. It’s a straightforward approach: see a cricket and give it a swift, decisive whack.
After you’ve dealt with the cricket, remember to disinfect the area to get rid of bacteria and, possibly, their eggs.
How To Get Rid of Crickets Outside
As the outdoor world turns more hospitable with the changing seasons, crickets begin their quest for new habitats. Your yard, with its lush vegetation and hidden nooks, becomes an ideal summer retreat for crickets. It’s time to reclaim your outdoor spaces with these strategies:
1. Maintain Your Yard
The battle against crickets isn’t confined to the indoors; it extends to your yard as well. A well-maintained yard can significantly reduce the cricket population by eliminating their preferred habitats. Take a look at what to do:
- Mow your lawn: Keep your grass regularly mowed. Long grass provides crickets with an ideal hiding and breeding ground.
- Prune bushes and shrubs: Overgrown vegetation is like a luxury resort for crickets. By trimming bushes, shrubs, and any other overgrown plants, you reduce the number of places where crickets can hide and breed.
- Do not leave woodpiles: Keeping woodpiles neatly stacked and preferably off the ground can deter crickets from taking up residence. Store them at least 20 feet away from your house.
- Remove grass clippings and trash: Piles of grass clippings, leaves, and trash can attract crickets. Regularly cleaning up yard waste and ensuring trash cans are sealed will make your yard less appealing to these pests.
2. Change Your Outdoor Lighting
An often-overlooked attractant for crickets is the type of lighting we use outdoors. Crickets, like many nocturnal insects, are drawn to bright lights during the night. Modifying your outdoor lighting can play a crucial role in making your yard less inviting to these chirping pests:
- Use yellow bulbs: Yellow lights are less attractive to crickets and other insects. By replacing your standard outdoor bulbs with yellow or warm-colored bulbs, you can significantly reduce the number of crickets drawn to your home.
- Invest in anti-bug bulbs: These are specifically designed to repel insects. They emit a spectrum of light that is less visible to bugs, including crickets, making your yard less of a beacon to these nighttime visitors.
- Consider dimmer lights: Consider using dimmer lights where possible. The less intense the light, the less it attracts crickets.
- Install motion sensors: Adding motion sensors to your outdoor lights ensures they only turn on when necessary. This reduces the overall time your lights are on, subsequently decreasing the attraction for crickets.
3. Use Cricket Repellent
Sometimes, the best offense in your battle against crickets is a good defense, and natural repellents can be an effective part of that strategy. Here’s how to make a chili-based cricket deterrent:
- Combine 1/2 cup of red chilis or 1/4 cup of chili powder with a few squirts of dish soap. Add water to create a light paste.
- Spread this mixture near areas where you want to keep crickets away, such as garden borders, near the foundation of your house, or around patios.
- Crickets are deterred by the strong smell and spicy taste of chilis. The dish soap helps the mixture adhere to surfaces and last longer.
If you were wondering what smells crickets hate besides chili, the answer is peppermint. Here’s how to make a natural cricket repellent with peppermint:
- Combine a few drops of peppermint essential oil with water in a spray bottle.
- Shake well to mix.
- Apply the peppermint spray in problem areas where you notice crickets frequently.
4. Sprinkle Granular Bait
Granular baits combine the effectiveness of insecticides with the allure of attractants, targeting crickets right where they live and roam. This cricket poison is manufactured as small granules, making them easy to spread across various areas of your yard.
The bait’s composition is also designed to attract crickets with its food-like particles. Once the crickets consume the bait, the insecticide component takes effect, killing them.
Distribute the granular bait around your yard, focusing on areas where you’ve noticed cricket activity. It can take up to two weeks to fully eliminate a cricket infestation.
5. Spray Insecticides
For those facing a significant cricket problem outdoors, spraying insecticide can be a highly effective solution. This method can be utilized in two primary ways: creating a barrier around your home’s foundation or treating your lawn directly.
- You can spray an insecticide around the perimeter of your home’s foundation. This forms a barrier that crickets cannot cross without being exposed to the insecticide.
- If your concern extends to mole crickets, applying insecticide directly to your lawn can be effective.
Look for products that specifically mention crickets on the label. This ensures that the formulation is suitable for your particular pest problem. Always read and follow label instructions.
Signs of Cricket Infestation
Recognizing the signs of a cricket infestation is crucial in tackling the problem before it escalates. While these critters might seem harmless, in large numbers, they can cause noticeable damage and disturbance. Here are the key signs to watch out for:
- Sightings of multiple crickets: The most obvious sign is seeing an unusual number of crickets in and around your home. Frequent sightings, especially in areas like basements, garages, and near window sills, can indicate an infestation.
- Chirping sounds at night: Crickets are known for their distinctive chirping, primarily at night. If you start noticing persistent chirping sounds within your home, it’s a strong indicator of their presence.
- Damage to rugs and carpets: Crickets feed on various types of fabrics. If you notice your rugs or carpets showing signs of loose fibers or looking unusually worn, crickets might be the culprits.
- Large holes in clothing: Pay attention to your clothing, especially items made from natural fibers like wool, silk, and cotton. Large, irregular holes can be a sign of crickets feasting on these materials.
- Chewed upholstered furniture: If the edges of your upholstered furniture appear chewed or frayed, it might be due to cricket activity.
FAQ About Cricket Extermination
What Attracts Crickets in the House?
There are several factors that can attract crickets, but the primary ones are the search for food sources and shelter. Here’s a closer look at what specifically might be inviting crickets into your living space:
- Pet food
- Uncovered garbage cans
- Fruit baskets
- Dark and damp areas
- Fabrics like wool, silk, cotton, and leather
- Indoor plants
- Bright lights
How Do Crickets Get in the House?
Crickets can be surprisingly adept at finding their way into our homes, exploiting any small opening they come across. Here are the common ways crickets may be entering your house:
- Gaps and holes
- Crevices around windows and doors
- Air vents
- Under doors
- A/C and other utility lines
One of the most effective ways to prevent crickets from entering is by sealing these potential entry points. Use caulk, weather stripping, and other appropriate materials to seal gaps and crevices.
Are Crickets Nocturnal?
Yes, crickets are nocturnal insects. During the day, crickets seek shelter in dark, secluded spots where they can remain relatively undisturbed and safe from predators. Once the sun sets, they come out of their hiding spots to feed, mate, and chirp, which is why we often associate cricket sounds with evening and nighttime.
Call the Professionals
While the DIY methods can be effective in managing and preventing cricket infestations, sometimes the situation calls for a more robust approach. If you’ve tried these strategies and still find yourself serenaded by crickets each night, it may be time to call a pest control professional.