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CAMEL CRICKETS

By: Michael Waldvogel, Extension Entomology

Insect Note - ENT/rsc-13

camel cricket Camel crickets get their name because of their slightly humpbacked appearance. Their long legs give them a spider-like appearance. Unlike other crickets, they do not have wings as adults. There are actually several species called camel crickets, but most of them are unimportant as pests. One species, Tachycines asynamorous or "greenhouse stone cricket" frequently becomes a nuisance indoors. As its name suggests, this species is frequently found in greenhouses. Unlike most cricket species that we see, camel crickets do not "chirp". If you are hearing chirping sounds indoors, then you likely have field crickets, which can be controlled in the same manner, as outlined below. Outdoors, camel crickets are typically found in moist areas including under stones and logs, or in stacks of firewood. Areas that are overgrown with vegetation such as ivy and other ground covers provide excellent hiding places (harborages). Camel crickets pass the winter as nymphs (immatures) or adults. The nymphs looks almost identical to the adult, except that they are smaller. In early spring, adult females begin to lay eggs in the soil. A few weeks later, the nymphs hatch from these eggs.

Problems with Camel Crickets
camel cricket on joist covered with cricket feces.Camel crickets often become a problem when we have extremes in weather conditions, i.e, excessive rainfall or extended periods of hot, dry weather. Like many insect pests, camel crickets are attracted to cool, moist/humid areas in and around our homes. The crickets often invade storage buildings, crawlspaces, basements, garages and indoor areas where moisture may be a problem (e.g., bathrooms, laundry rooms, etc.). A telltale sign of a heavy infestation is the presence of dark fecal smears on surfaces (such as on the floor joist in the picture to the right). Although they are mostly a nuisance pest, they can damage stored items, such as garments and linens packed in boxes in a garage or basement if the problem goes unchecked for some time and the crickets cannot find suitable food.

Non-chemical control methods
Although pesticides can help reduce the nuisance problems with camel crickets, they are not a long-term solution. Effective control starts with eliminating harborage sites, reducing conditions that are conducive or attractive to these pests and by excluding these insects from our homes:

  1. gaps around crawlspace access doors provide access for camel cricketsCaulk or seal gaps and openings around windows frames, doors, foundation and clothes dryer vents, crawlspace access doors (picture at right), soffits, as well as where heating/AC and plumbing lines pass through the foundation.
  2. Install weather-stripping along the bottom of house and garage doors so that it fits tightly against the threshold.
  3. Stack boxes and other items off of the ground and away from the walls in a garage or storage building. This helps improve airflow and makes it easier to check for crickets and other pests, including termites.
  4. Reduce moisture indoors, as well as in other critical areas such as basements or crawlspaces.
  5. Keep ground cover and mulch at least 12 inches or more away from the foundation. When possible, use an inorganic cover such as gravel up near the foundation.
  6. Keep ground cover and shrubs away from the foundation and siding. Do not stack firewood against the house. Remove piles of lumber or other clutter under decks that might attract crickets and other pests.
  7. Place sticky boards, such as those used for cockroaches and mice, in corners and behind appliances to catch crickets that enter your home.
Chemical control

Outdoors: Any chemical control should focus first on outdoor barrier treatments. Sprays applied to foundation walls, around vents crawlspace accesses, basement doors and windows, and insecticidal baits applied along the perimeter can be quite effective unless there are heavy rains. In crawlspaces, insecticidal baits placed in corners or along the sill plate will be most effective. Spraying in a confined area, such as a crawlspace, requires caution and the proper application and safety equipment. Granular baits are a better choice for use in a crawlspace, but these products are not readily available to the general pubilc. You can or else contact a licensed pest control company for assistance. Consult your county Cooperative Extension Service Center or the NC Agricultural Chemicals Manual for a list of appropriate pesticides.

Indoors: Any of the common household (indoor) insecticides can be applied to baseboards, and areas behind appliances. However, if you follow the steps outlined earlier for excluding these pests, the need for indoor applications should be reduced.



Prepared by
Michael Waldvogel
Entomology Extension Specialist

Pest information and control recommendations presented here were developed for North Carolina and may not be appropriate for other states or regions. Any recommendations for the use of chemicals are included solely as a convenience to the reader and do not imply that insecticides are necessarily the sole or most appropriate method of control. Any mention of brand names or listing of commercial products or services in the publication does not imply endorsements by North Carolina Cooperative Extension nor discrimination against similar products or services. All recommendations for pesticide use were legal at the time of publication, but the status of pesticide registrations and use patterns are subject to change by actions of state and federal regulatory agencies. Individuals who use chemicals are responsible for using these products according to the regulations in their state and to the guidelines on the product label. Before applying any chemical, always obtain current information about its use and read the product label carefully. For assistance, contact the Cooperative Extension Center in your county.

Distributed in furtherance of the acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation. North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.



Last updated - June 2006
(Camel cricket image courtesy of Univar, Inc.)

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