Are Crickets a Pest or Resource?

Chirp, chirp, chirp… a sound that for some equals summer while for others equals annoyance. Ah, the song of the cricket. Crickets are common throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties.  The most common of the songs we hear on warm summer nights, or well any night really, is that of the male playing his song of courtship to the females. Or it can be a fighting chirp to repel other males from the females they are hoping to woo over. And the cricket is one of 2,400 species of leaping insects that are known for their chirping males! A. E. Dolber, a Tufts College professor, was the first to find the relationship between the temperature and rate of chirps. As temperatures rise the chirp rate becomes faster, and always at a consistent rate. So it make sense that chirps would increase in warmer temperature as the males are looking for courtship so their offspring will be created in the fall and hatch later when spring arrives. However, those lovely evening serenades can become hazardous to our gardens as egg laying can cause damage to plants as females lay eggs in plant stems and soil.

Crickets Throughout History

Crickets have played a large role in myth and superstition around the world. They are typically equated with good fortune and intelligence and harming a cricket is believed to cause misfortune. Yet, crickets will feed on plants, animals, clothes, and each other, which depending on your outlook they may be more of a pest than a bearer or good fortune.

Crickets as a Food Source

Worldwide crickets are consumed, especially in the tropics, through the practice of entomophagy – or the consumption of insects. Throughout the year they are available throughout the tropics and thus considered an abundant food source. In general crickets provide satisfactory amounts of energy and protein, while meeting amino acid requirements for human consumption. They are also high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as iron. In the Western world crickets are typically farmed as pet food rather than people food. While in nature crickets are prey for many animals and are a key part of the food chain.

What Attracts Crickets?

Three key factors contribute to the attraction of crickets to your yard or inside your home: food, shelter and light. Outside crickets typically live within the foliage of plants, under rocks, in lumber piles and under trash cans. They will also tend to congregate in areas with abundant light, such as porches with lights on, garden lighting, and street lights. When the temperature drops in autumn crickets will venture in doors to the warmer temperatures, where food and shelter can be found as well, such as in and around kitchens. Luckily should a cricket enter your home the damage they can cause is minor and unnoticeable, however should there be a population outbreak major damage can occur.

Have a cricket infestation?

Should crickets invade your Riverside homes or gardens we’re here to help. Contact us for an inspection and discussion of possible solutions for your cricket needs.