Camel crickets have recently gained attention in the national media following an unsuspecting college student’s revelation of the insects in her basement. Protecting them can be of little importance because of their widespread infestations throughout the United States. While camel crickets are not typically hostile, they are scavengers that will feed off of just about anything – including other camel crickets.
The good news is that camel crickets won’t pose a threat of harm to humans or pets. The bad news is that they infest homes, cause damage, and are scary looking alone and in groups.
Know Your Camel Crickets
There are over 100 different kinds of camel crickets in the United States and parts of Canada today. Despite sharing the name of the cricket, camel crickets are not known to chirp because of their lack of sound producing organs in their bodies.
Camel crickets have a humpbacked appearance with their heads in the middle of their legs. Their back legs are strong and contribute to their ease in jumping. Most species of camel crickets vary in color from a light tan color to dark brown.
Up until 2014, it was unknown as to whether or not the greenhouse camel cricket existed outside of their native Asian land. This sparked an investigation into whether or not the camel cricket’s appearance in homes was contributing to the decrease in the native camel cricket population.
Where Camel Crickets Live and What They Eat
Common and greenhouse camel crickets have become more known for infesting damp and dark areas of the home, similar to that of other insect populations. Inside homes, they are commonly seen in storage areas, bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements and garages. They can damage fabrics, house plants, and sometimes clothing.
Outside of the home, camel crickets can be found in any moist location. Camel crickets are most active during night time hours and are attracted to places that have high levels of moisture and humidity. Their long antennae provide them with the ability to feel their way around landscapes in the dark.
Camel crickets can be found in areas of tall grass, weeds, trees, caves, holes in the ground, and piles of wood or stone. If an infestation is suspected, a professional removal company may be the best bet for getting rid of these pests.
Camel crickets eat other insects, carpet, cardboard, fungi, wood, and even each other if the opportunity presents itself. Because of their long legs and appearance, camel crickets are commonly known as “spider crickets.”
Removing Camel Crickets
Camel crickets may not be hard to remove in the event they are found in any of the moist areas of your home or property. There exist a myriad of options for less expensive means of removal. For resourceful homeowners, removal can be quite inexpensive and without problems.
At this point in time, most methods aim to eradicate the problem as a whole. This leaves the homeowner with a large mess to clean up following the applied removal solution. In the event that the homeowner has opted to utilize a simple method of clearing the home from a camel cricket infestation, it doesn’t always take care of the entire issue at hand.
At times, when removal methods are used by consumers, they fail to remove the entire insect population from the property. This can lead to frustration and should signal that help from a professional removal company may be required to eradicate the problem in its entirety.
Several means of getting rid of camel crickets are listed below:
- Sticky traps: Traps that have sticky tape on one side can trap some of the camel crickets that have invaded the home.
- Insecticides: Insecticides can be found at any local hardware or grocery store. This is not a good idea if there are young children or pets in the home. We recommend Niban’s Granular Insecticide Bait.
- Dehumidifier: Purchasing a dehumidifier will make the location a less likely place for the camel cricket to want to live.
Life Cycle and Reproduction
The younger forms of camel crickets resemble their older counterparts, but are smaller in size. In the event that the infestation has occurred inside the home, it is not likely for the camel cricket to lay eggs indoors. The egg laying camel crickets will look for warm, dark, and humid areas to lay their eggs.
If a camel cricket infestation is found inside the home, it means that there exists a moisture problem. Contacting a professional service to remove the issue should be the first option chosen in order to remove the insects and get the entire population.
The life cycle of the camel cricket is one to two years. Despite having a longer life than some other insects, the camel cricket poses no real threat to humans. They have a tendency to congregate together, which leads to an increased ability to cause damage to the site of infestation.
Do Camel Crickets Bite Humans?
The short answer to this question is no, camel crickets do not bite humans. While they look like giant spiders, camel crickets do not have fangs and will not bite human beings. Despite the lack of fangs, camel crickets do have chewing mouth parts that they will use in chewing their prey. Camel crickets are considered pests in homes because of their natural tendency to feast on just about anything. They will eat cardboard, clothing items, plants, and other insects.
Identifying Camel Crickets
If you have found a cricket infestation inside of your home, you should first identify the type of cricket that it is prior to extermination or removal. The website Your Wild Life provides an excellent resource for identifying the specific type of camel cricket inside of your home. Utilizing this website, you can learn the differentiating features of the camel cricket as well as color variations and sizes.
The website also provides a resource for consumer submissions of pictures and other evidence of camel crickets in the United States.
Camel Cricket Prevention
As with any insect, the best thing to do first is to nip the problem in the bud. Consumers who have a problem with camel cricket infestations should first look at the various ways that these insects are entering the home. Prevention is the key to saving money down the line when it comes to keeping the costs of extermination down.
Camel crickets may live in taller grass or garbage cans that sit close to the home. In an effort to prevent them from getting inside the home, empty the trash can on a regular basis, move it further away from the home and mow the tall grass.
Seal any window cracks on the property and repair any broken or torn screens in doors and windows. This will provide a barrier which will keep future infestations from occurring inside the home.
Consider the use of a dehumidifier to remove the moisture from the affected area. Camel crickets can sometimes congregate in stacks of leaves and because of this; leaves should be raked away from the home. This method may diminish the level of camel crickets inside of the home, but will not provide a solution that completely eradicates the problem.
Eliminating and clutter that is present in damp areas will give the camel cricket nothing to eat. While they may begin to eat each other in desperate situations, if a large infestation occurs, a professional should be called to handle the problem.
Professional Camel Cricket Removal
If prevention is no longer an option, a professional pest removal service should be alerted to assist with a camel cricket infestation. A professional insect removal company can figure out how bad the infestation is and the affected areas. This will allow the representative to estimate how much removal will cost and the fees associated with regular maintenance procedures to avoid future camel cricket problems.
What to Expect
A company that seeks to remove infestations of camel crickets will first assess the level of infestation and the damage caused by the insects. If the ability to control the infestation inside is an issue, harsher methods of removal may be utilized on the outside of the home.
Outdoor chemical treatments may be used on the outside of the home and along the home’s perimeter. The technician may concentrate these chemical solutions near doorways and windows in order to further prevent future infestations.
If the basement, garage, or other enclosed space requires treatment, care should be taken when the technician uses chemical means to treat the infestation. Chemical solutions should be considered indoors if the infestation is large and poses a problem to valuable household items.
How Much Does it Cost?
Cost Helper estimates that the cost of a specialist to come out and spray baseboards and affected areas can range between $50 and $300 for the first application. If the first application is unsuccessful, many pest removal companies can charge between $25 and $60 per month for regular applications.
Saving Money on Professional Removal
Using natural solutions for dealing with a camel cricket problem may help in keeping the removal costs down. Using cedar near the entry site may prove to be useful because it is a natural fungicide and insecticide. Tea tree oil and citronella are both also natural methods that should be considered because of their ability to fend off camel crickets. Peppermint and cedar oils can also prove to be an effective solution.
The best defense against spending great deals of money on professional removal services is to have a plan in place to prevent camel crickets from entering the property in the first place.