Crickets are insects that belong to the order Orthoptera and the class Insecta. Crickets are an important part of the ecosystem since they help in the breakdown of plant material. They are also an important source of food for other animals like small owls, spiders, birds, mice, shrews, snakes, frogs, raccoons and opossums. There are many species of crickets: house crickets, field crickets, ground crickets, cave crickets, mole crickets, camel crickets, snowy tree cricket and the northern mole crickets.
House Crickets: these are the most commonly seen crickets. They are also very troublesome since they tend to enter the house and cause damage. Length of adult house crickets ranges between 3/4 inch and 7/8 inch. They are light yellowish-brown in color and have three dark bands on the head. They have long, thin antennae ,which is much longer than the whole body. They have antenna-like cerci attached to the sides of the abdomen. Female house crickets have a thin, long tube-like structure known as the ovipositor projecting from the abdomen. This is used for laying eggs. Female house crickets can lay an average of 728eggs.
House crickets are generally found outdoors in places like garbage dumps but tend to get into the house when the temperature outside gets colder. They can jump very high, even up to second and third stories of houses. They can also bite if agitated. They feed on silk, wool, nylon, rayon and wood and can thus cause much damage in the house.
Field crickets: field crickets are also a very commonly seen cricket species. They are 1/2 to 11/4 inches in length. They are black in color and have long, thin antennae and a stout body. They have large jumping hind legs. The ovipositor of a female field cricket may be nearly 3/4 inch long. There are many kinds of field crickets and they also vary based on the size. Field crickets make sounds throughout the day as well as night. Female field crickets lay an average of 150-400 eggs.
Field crickets cause much damage to field crops. They also enter buildings and cause damage to furniture upholstery, rugs and clothes. They can fly well and are attracted to bright lights. They are generally found in cold damp places and inside buildings.
Ground crickets: Ground crickets are smaller in size than house and field crickets. They are less than 1/2 inch in length. They are brown in color with long, movable spines on the hind tibiae. Ground crickets’ sounds are soft and high-pitched. They are active at night and are greatly attracted to lights. They are generally found in laws, pastures and wooded areas.
Snowy tree cricket: this species of crickets are pale yellowish-green or whitish pale green in color and about 5/6 to 7/8 inch long. They have one black spot on the fore side of each of the first two antenna segments. Wings of male snowy tree crickets are broad and paddle-shaped, laying flat on the back. The female cricket’s forewings are narrow and are wrapped closely to the body.
Snowy tree crickets are found in trees, shrubs, high grassy areas and in weeds. They lay eggs on the bark or stems of fruits and ornamental plants, causing much damage. Snowy tree crickets make sounds that vary according to the temperature. These sounds are generally very loud and are usually used for special effects in movies.
Cave Crickets: Cave crickets, also known as camel crickets or stone crickets, are generally found in caves and other cool damp places like house basements. They have very large hind legs, long slender antennae, head bent backward and drumstick-shaped femurs. They do not have wings. They are about one inch in length and brownish in color. They appear to be humpbacked because of their arched backs. They are also nocturnal but are not attracted to light unlike other crickets. They also do not chirp like house crickets. Cave crickets usually reside in wells, hollow tress, under damp leaves/stones/logs/boards. They generally wander into houses by mistake and are basically harmless.