Ahhh… the sound of crickets. So peaceful. So evocative of warm summer nights, sitting on a porch without a care in the world.
But then one gets in your house.
Remember that old Edgar Allen Poe story the Tell-Tale Heart, wherein the main character is driven crazy by the ghostly beating of his murder victim’s heart? Well, anyone who’s had a cricket in their home can probably relate to that character. If a single cricket chirping is enough to drive someone insane, then multiple crickets will undoubtedly inspire murderous thoughts.
There are over 900 identified cricket species, but the ones most common in San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties are known as field crickets (which encompasses many crickets in the Gryliidae family). Field crickets between .6″-1″ in length and can be red, brown or black. They produce chirping sounds by rubbing their forelegs together in order to attract females (females cannot chirp). Basically, crickets are the insect equivalent of that annoying bro who makes his homeboy slow down so he can yell at ladies from the car. And this is why nobody wants to be friends with crickets.
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Crickets make their home in the ground, tall grass, and weeds. They’re very skittish, and fast to retreat from danger, or stay silent until the perceived threat leaves (which makes hunting them in your home so difficult). They prefer living outdoors, and provide a vital role in the decomposition cycle. Field crickets eat animal remains and plant matter.
Due to their enormous appetites – they have to eat their own weight in food every day! – large populations of crickets can cause significant damage to agricultural crops. They come into our homes to to escape changes in their environment, such as temperature or the arrival of a predator. Once inside, they’ve been known to feed on wool, cotton, nylon, rubber, and leather materials. So when you find your vintage Led Zeppelin concert shirt eaten by crickets, it’s not due to their jealousy of Roger Plant’s singing voice – they were just hungry.
Crickets do not bite or sting (but they may tickle you if they accidentally jump into your leg). This is not to say that you won’t go to drastic and violent lengths to stop them from chirping inside your home.