Crickets are among the most troublesome pests in DFW due to their population exploding over a very short period of time. Luckily they are a very predictable pest usually swarming in the later summer and fall in the DFW area, peaking during August and September. The largest cricket outbreaks occur when the summer and spring are dry. Crickets are primarily an outdoor pest, but their sheer numbers can overwhelm a community. Many people are repelled by the sight of large numbers of crickets on walls and sidewalks around their community.
Outdoor lighting is the most important single cause of severe cricket infestations. Buildings that are brightly lit at night are most likely to attract the largest numbers of crickets during the fall mating season. Reducing outdoor lights is the most important step in a cricket control program.
Envirotrol Pest Management Systems offers a combination cricket treatment program: 1) A granular treatment eaten by crickets which reduces their population in the short term, 2) this is topped off with a lawn spray that keeps new crickets from invading the area in the long term, this also protects the sidewalks from unsightly cricket populations. This form of pest management also helps control American cockroaches, certain ant species, mosquitos,and other pests.
Cricket control with insecticides should be considered as only a partial solution to cricket problems. This treatment should be combined with reductions in outdoor lighting for best control. During cricket swarming season, outdoor lights should be turned off as early in the evening as practical, or should be replaced with “bug lamps” that are less attractive to insects. Floodlights that illuminate homes or buildings, and which are not necessary for security purposes, should be turned off; or the lighting schedule should be restricted to a few hours each night. When crickets are drawn to lighted buildings at night, they will continue to cause problems, regardless of the amounts of insecticides used.
Field crickets are normally 0.6–1.0 inches in size, depending on the species, and can be black, red or brown in color. Unlike females, males are able to produce sounds or chirps. Thus, males can be identified through sound while females cannot.
They hatch in spring, and the young crickets (called nymphs) eat and grow rapidly. They shed their skin eight or more times before they become adults. Field crickets eat a broad range of feeds: seeds, plants, or insects (dead or alive). They are known to feed on grasshopper eggs, and the pupae of moths, butterflies, and flies. Occasionally they may rob spiders of their prey. Field crickets also eat grass and dead plant material.
In ambient temperatures between 80 ° and 90 °F, sexually mature males will chirp, with the acoustical properties of their calling song providing an indicator of past and present health. Females evaluate these songs and move towards the ones that signal the male's good health. When the male senses the presence of a female he will produce a softer courting song. After mating, the female will search for a place to lay her eggs, preferably in warm, damp (though not wet) soil.
Field crickets prefer to live in outdoor environments with high humidity, warm temperatures, moist rich soil, and adequate food, but will migrate into human structures when environmental conditions outside become unfavorably cool. They often gain entry into buildings via open doors and windows as well as cracks in poorly fitted windows, foundations, or siding.