Summary: The camelback cricket is a strange looking insect that has a cricket-like body but long, spider-like legs. They can give people a fright when they are found in basements or cellars. Camelback crickets like to live in dark, damp environments and they are almost completely harmless.
Camelback crickets are in a different family than field crickets, but camelback crickets, also known as camel crickets, are closely related to cave crickets, cave wetas, and sand treaders.
Camelbacks are brown, about an inch or two in length. There are also spotted camel crickets. They all have very long antennae and long, spider-like legs. Occasionally called spider crickets or humped-back crickets, they have no wings, but are powerful jumpers. The most damage that a camel cricket can do is to ruin some clothing stored in basements which they might nibble on.
Camelback crickets like warm, dark, damp environments as found in caves or in woods under rocks. They also are frequently found in basements and cellars. If you hear cricket sounds coming from below your house it is not coming from camel crickets because camel crickets do not chirp. More likely, it is a field cricket that has found its way inside.
The best way to get rid of camelback crickets is to eliminate the moisture where they are found. Fixing leaky pipes and making sure that you are getting proper drainage will go a long way in discouraging camel crickets from making your basement their home. You can ventilate crawlspaces to help prevent moisture buildup, as well.
If the crickets are coming in from the outside you will need to try to locate their source. They might be inhabiting an old pile of leaves outside, or a stack of firewood. Leaf debris and any woodpiles, as well as stone slabs, bricks, boards, and tarps should not be placed within several feet of the foundation of a house. Foundation cracks should be sealed with a bit of cement or grout. Cracks under doorways can be sealed off with weather stripping.
If camelback crickets are already breeding in a basement they can be difficult to get rid of. You can start with laying out glue traps in the corners of the room, along the walls and next to the sill plate at the top of the wall. You could even make your own sticky trap using duct tape wrapped around a 3x5 note card. Remember that dust will quickly make a sticky trap ineffective, so regularly monitor the trap to see if it is still sticky. You should sweep up dust with a vacuum cleaner before laying out the glue boards to help prevent dust contamination, plus vacuuming will help clean up any organic matter than might be food for the crickets.
Pesticides are not usually needed for camelback cricket control, but if they are found in large numbers a perimeter barrier treatment with Talstar granules will help to keep more crickets from coming inside. Putting out Niban granules on a paper plate along inside basement walls can help. as well.
Camelback crickets have poor eyesight, as do many insects that have adapted to live in darkness. When they see something large approaching them they sometimes jump towards it in an attempt to scare it. For many people this aggressive behavior is frightening because of how high and far the crickets can jump. They are like insects on pogo sticks. I should also mention that females have a long ovipositor which they use to lay eggs. It looks like a long stinger on their back end, but it is harmless.
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