You might know them as “hoppers,” “jumpers” or “hippity hops.” With their hunched backs, rounded bodies and oversized back legs, these brown and speckled critters are turning up in homes across the U.S. These ugly jumpers are actually called cave crickets, spider crickets, greenhouse crickets, and camel crickets.
Cave crickets are annoying, but they’re harmless — although some people have reported getting bitten by these critters.
You don’t have to be in a cave (or live in one) to see cave crickets. Cave crickets love to lurk in basements, cellars, garages, sheds and dark, damp places under and around your home. As outdoor temperatures drop, cave crickets seek warmer climes indoors. They’ll jump several feet into the air when startled. Don’t confuse these nasty creatures with chirping, winged field crickets whose serenades bring to mind warm summer evenings.
Cave crickets play an important part in a cave’s ecosystem – but not in your basement! Here are a few tips to reduce the cave cricket population in your home:
- Fix cracks and crevices – Use caulk to prevent these creatures from squeezing into your home in the first place.
- Add weatherstripping and repair screen doors so the insects can’t get into your home.
- Place sticky traps tucked away under sinks and behind appliances where no kids or pets can find them.
- Sprinkle insect bait or boric acid in small amounts along walls and under appliances (again, making sure that your kids and pets can’t touch it).
- Move mulch, leaves and other organic matter away from your home’s foundation as a deterrent.
Researchers estimate these indoor invaders outnumber humans 2 to 1. Their numbers are probably much higher.
In the wild, these crickets are true to their name. Like a ex-Hollywood movie star, former rock musician or millionaire eccentric whose best days are well behind them, these cave dwellers stay close to home, never venturing too far to forage at night and return to their darkened abodes to hide during daybreak. In your home, they’ll feast on other insects and even each other.
Whatever, you do, please don’t confuse these nasty creatures with chirping, winged field crickets whose serenades bring to mind warm summer evenings!
Be Prepared. Know Before™.
The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team