Field crickets are of the Gryllidae family with grasshoppers and katydids. There are at least 25 species in North America with many of them so similar they are hard to tell from one species to another.
The Missouri Department of Conservation states in their field guide that the field cricket is usually ½ to 1 inch in length. Most members of the genus Gryllus are shiny black with large heads and powerful hind legs suitable for jumping. Their antennae are longer than the body of the cricket. The adult female is equipped with a long ovipositor located at the tip of the abdomen and is used for laying eggs.
Most crickets overwinter as eggs until springtime. They hatch into nymphs and begin the process of eating and growing. They will molt 8 to 9 times in this growth cycle. The final molt gives them wings and they are also sexually mature at that time. A single female will deposit from 150 to 400 eggs. These eggs are laid singly in moist soil.
Field crickets can be found in moist soil, mulched areas, thick plant beds, wood piles, under stones and debris. Often, the first indication of crickets in the area is the chirping sound coming from the males rubbing his front wings together. This chirping song is what will attract the females. Field crickets feast on a variety of crops including alfalfa, wheat, oats, rye and many vegetable crops. A huge outbreak of field crickets can destroy crops. A cricket will not survive indoors for very long and will almost always die off before winter. However, crickets have been known to damage fabrics, leathers and furs during their short tenure inside.
Prevention and Control
Prevention and control of the field cricket begins by removing debris away from the foundation, keeping weeds pulled and lawn mowed and removing stacks of wood from the property. Crickets are nocturnal and will be drawn to lights. Change outdoor lighting to a yellow bulb or sodium vapor lamps.
Sealing any potential points of entry is a great method of control. Replace any defective threshold plates and door sweeps. Repair or replace screens in windows and doors. Examine the foundation for any cracks and seal shut with caulking.
The most effective method of control is to utilize the services of your pest control company. Your Rottler Pest technician can apply an exterior barrier treatment around the foundation perimeter and along thresholds and exterior moldings. He may also recommend a pest management service program to maintain your property in areas of large field cricket infestations.