Brace yourselves. It is beginning to look like another "good" year for crickets. Calls are already coming in with complaints about crickets chirping in the house. Oh my.
Like other accidental invaders, field crickets spend most of their life outdoors where they feed, grow, develop and reproduce. Only during a limited portion of their life cycle do they wander indoors by mistake and create an annoyance.
There is no single, perfect solution for the control of crickets that are invading the house. Often some combination of the following suggestions will work. Ultimately, cricket problems end in the fall when the adults are killed by heavy frost or freeze.
- Seal cracks, gaps and holes in foundation, siding, windows, doors, screens, and other possible entry points. Remove vegetation and debris from next to the house that serves as a hiding place or breeding site.
- Reduce the number of pests at the source if possible. Sprays generally used in lawns, fencerows and other cricket habitats include Sevin, malathion, Orthene and diazinon.
- Use barrier perimeter sprays on and along the foundation to stop migrating invaders. In years of abundance the barrier should extend all the way to the source if possible; that is, all the way to the fencerow, ditch bank or other identifiable habitat for crickets. Use Dursban, diazinon, malathion or Sevin according to label directions, and repeat as needed.
- For invaders already inside the house, vacuum or sweep them up and discard. Indoor residual treatments with "cockroach" sprays have little in any benefit. Do not use lawn and garden insecticide concentrates indoors. Direct application or fogging with pyrethrin aerosols is one way besides the fly swatter or rolled up magazine to eliminate crickets that are inside.
This article originally appeared in the July 17, 1998 issue, p. 95.