Getting Rid of Crickets!
July 21, 2008 2:42 AM   Subscribe

I live in a town that every year thousands upon thousands of crickets (field crickets) rise up and try to take over. I just got my first house with a yard and won't have free exterminators at my disposal. How do I nuke my yard sufficiently that I won't have them everywhere inside and out?

The neighborhood I live in doesn't allow pets, so I'm not worried about anything toxic... but I need to do something soon as the crickets will start showing up very soon (they are already starting!)

I don't exagerate when I say "thousands" either. Ideally I'd like something cheap that I can use on the entire yard that will keep them from coming in or kill them for at least a few months.

I'm generally pretty cool with less destructive bugs, but when it gets to the point where every step is "crunch crunch crunch" it's more than I can deal with. Thanks!
posted by Gideon to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Keep your lawn mowed. Make sure your windows are screened, as well as your entry doors. Assure that those screens are tightly fitted.

Use sodium vapour lights for outdoors (crickets are attracted to light, less so to the yellowish light).

Keep geckos.

What do other people in your area do? You live in the cricket's territory; there must be regional strategies that help people to co-exist with them.
posted by reflecked at 3:13 AM on July 21, 2008

There are various species of crickets, and it is best to identify the species you are trying to control, to use the right products and strategies. Availability of pesticides, and use restrictions, may also depend on your jurisdiction. Permethrin is the most widely used long term, broadband control agent against common field crickets.
posted by paulsc at 3:48 AM on July 21, 2008

Response by poster: Generally there are just pesticides used indoors with LOTS of pest control visits. What I'm really wanting is something I can do OUTSIDE before they even get in. I'm not too worried about them getting inside as much as I don't want crickets everywhere inside and out.

I'll look into the Permethrin. It's common field crickets I'm dealing with.
posted by Gideon at 4:17 AM on July 21, 2008

Any trees nearby? I'd try to work a few bat houses in, painted the same color as the bark. Like geckos they eat a ton of insects so they're handy to have around in addition to the pesticides.
posted by jwells at 5:46 AM on July 21, 2008

According to the Oklahoma State University Entomology and Plant Pathology Department:
Crickets commonly spend the daylight hours hiding in dark, damp areas. The elimination of piles of bricks, stones, wood, or other debris around the home will help reduce numbers. Weeds and dense vegetation around the foundations of homes are other good hiding places. Nearby trash dumps, which provide both food and shelter, should be cleaned out. Since crickets are attracted to lights, the elimination of light sources at night will reduce the numbers attracted to the home area. Measures such as caulking, weather stripping, and making sure all screens and doors are tight fitting will help reduce the numbers that can enter your home or business. Adult crickets can be difficult to control. Inside homes or buildings, ready-to-use sprays or aerosols applied to baseboards, door thresholds, and cracks and crevices where crickets hide will normally control them. Also, it is frequently helpful to spray outside around the foundation, in ornamental beds, the patio, the area surrounding stacked firewood, etc. The outside treatment will help prevent crickets from moving into a building. Please contact your local county extension office for current information.
So there's a lot of stuff you could do that you should be doing anyway: clean up your yard to iliminate dark and damp areas, reduce or eliminate any light pollution you're causing, and fix your window and door seals.

Try to avoid spraying chemicals around. Honey bees, for example, are already in serious trouble; if you don't need to be spraying neurotoxins like permethrin, which is highly toxic to bees, don't do it.
posted by pracowity at 5:56 AM on July 21, 2008

Reading your post, it seems you'd be more interested in removing or repelling the crickets, rather than "nuking" them; after all, dead crickets crunch underfoot as much as live ones do.

Seconding jwells' suggestion of bat houses. Bats feed at night, the same time the crickets are most active.

Googling "repel crickets" came up with a few answers, one of the most promising seeming to be moth balls. All this suggests a perimeter of moth balls to repel the invading hordes, with a hungry colony of bats to deal with the successful infiltrators.

Good luck.
posted by dinger at 7:38 AM on July 21, 2008

Now, I'm no expert on bat behaviour but don't bats fly around to catch their prey? ie, crawling crickets hiding in vegetation are not the target food source for an aerial insectivore? I think the geckos idea is a better one, since at least they're on the ground to start with. Perhaps there's something to you can do to entice more geckos or robins (which do eat bugs in the grass) to your yard?
posted by LunaticFringe at 8:29 AM on July 21, 2008

Can you borrow some chickens?
posted by idiotfactory at 12:10 PM on July 21, 2008

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