The yellowish-brown house cricket got its name because it was a common pest in homes. Older homes were built with many voids and hidden areas that allowed the cricket to survive and reproduce indoors in great numbers.
The house cricket, Acheta domesticus (L.), is about ¾” to 1″ long. There are three dark bands across the head. The antennae are very slender and they are longer than the body. Adults have wings that fold flat on top of the body.
House crickets are good fliers. They are attracted to lights and they often gather on buildings and around streetlights. They frequently move into homes in search of water. They also move into homes in the fall when the weather starts to turn cool.
They find dark places to hide. However, the males make the chirping sound to attract female crickets. This sound is the telltale signal that the crickets have invaded.
House crickets are active at night. Outdoors they eat plants and insects. When they are indoors, house crickets are notorious for the damage they cause to fabrics. They damage carpets, drapes, and even upholstery.
House crickets are particularly attracted to clothing that has been soiled with perspiration. They make large holes in garments. This is different from the small holes that clothes moth larvae usually make when they feed.
People who are fighting house crickets often find that reducing the brightness of the porch lights helps. It also sometimes helps to change the porch lights to the yellow “bug light” bulbs.
It can also help to trim weeds, grass, and ground cover away from the foundation. Stack woodpiles on racks and move them away from the house. Rake mulch and dead leaves away from the foundation to make a 24″ clear zone.
Make sure exterior doors close tightly. Secure the access to the crawl space and repair any damaged screens on crawl space vents.
Insect baits can be very effective for controlling house crickets. Check the bait label directions. Some labels allow applications indoors if the bait is placed in small trays. The bait trays can be placed under appliances and behind large pieces of furniture where crickets would hide.
Many brands of bait are water-resistant. Apply the bait outdoors in the clear zone between the foundation and the mulch. The bait can also be applied in ground cover and flowerbeds where crickets will be hiding.
Liquid insecticide can be used as a barrier on the foundation and around doors and windows. Because of sun and rain, the barrier will have to be re-applied periodically. Many homeowners call on a pest control professional to make these applications and control house crickets.