Summary: Cave Crickets are not like most crickets. They are non-chirping, people-intimidators. Cave crickets even consume their own body parts in order to survive. Kind of counterproductive, huh?
Imagine this. You go to the basement to pick up a cold one. You flip on the lights and all of the sudden you are confronted with this disgusting, vile creature. What is it? It looks like a spider, and it's rather large. Your heart starts to pump harder. You muster up the fortitude to smite your foe. So, you approach the intruder with the simple strategy of stepping on it. When all the sudden, it jumps! It jumps at you, which catches you off guard and frightens you some more. Losing you composure, you run upstairs screaming like a little girl where you are confronted by your guests expecting cold beverages. You can't disappoint them, so you go back down, armed with shin guards, shoulder pads, a hockey mask and a baseball bat. You're ready. This time, to your surprise, the monster is gone. Whew! Lucky him. You proceed with the original mission thinking all the while, what was that and where did he go?
My friend, you have just encountered the CAVE CRICKET, also known as the Camel cricket that sounds much less imposing. The Cave cricket looks creepy, jumps, and at times, will actually jump at you, throwing you way off guard. But, have no fear! Cave crickets are all bark and pose no real threat to humans. That is, unless you are weak of heart. Given that its natural habitat is a cave, these crickets have very poor eyesight. That is why, when approached, it will jump in your direction. It's an attempt to scare you off and many times this works.
So, here's some info you can use to identify these monsters and inform your friends when you come up from the basement empty handed. The Cave cricket is large, measuring in at two-inches on the body, and four inches for the legs! Question, why is it that long legs on anything not human scare the heck out of us? You know, spiders, cave crickets, Manute Bol. Puzzling!
Young Cave crickets are translucent, while the older ones sport a putrid brownish color. These are faces only a mother could love. They appear to be distant cousins of Quazi Motto, which would explain their humpbacked reference as Camel crickets. For the sake of horror, I shall stick to calling them the more terror-inspiring Cave crickets. They are wingless. That's a plus, but as said before, they can jump, and rather high.
The only good that the Cave cricket does, or more precisely doesn't do, is chirp. The only way you will know if you're housing them is if you see one. Sometimes, if infestations are bad enough, their smeared fecal matter will be present. Nice houseguests! Generally though, Cave crickets aren't found squatting in houses in mass numbers.
As their name implies, this cricket is usually found in caves, but really, anywhere that is dark and damp will do, including your basement. The best thing is you rarely find them anywhere else in your house. They do have poor eyesight due to their preferred environment, so their sense of touch is rather sensitive. Furthermore, caves generally are not the most nutritious environments, so the cave cricket often goes for long periods malnourished. During these periods, they have been known to feast on their own extremities in order to survive. A rather gruesome prospect, given the fact they cannot regenerate. They eat themselves alive!
Now that I have scared you, I will tell how to deal with these monstrosities. Nobody wants the cave cricket around, or any pest for that matter. That being said, the first way to mitigate any potential problem is to eliminate inviting habitats. Cave crickets prefer cave-like surroundings, so don't have a cave-like basement. Clean up clutter, seal cracks, and ventilate moist or damp areas to start. Limiting moist spaces is paramount in the prevention process.
If you have already had your terrifying first encounter you still need to do the cleanup-thing. It's unlikely that Cave crickets have set up shop in your house. That lone cricket may be the only one present. Squashing it like any other bug does work, though they are quick, and jump high. This may prove difficult. Vacuum cleaners are effective and do much to quell the fear factor.
You can also build a trap. A cool and simple trap to make is to cut a hole in the side of a shoebox and line the inside with sticky paper or wax. After a day or so, take the box outside, lift the lid and see if you have caught any crickets.
If you find it prudent, you can always go the chemical way to rid yourself of these critters. Ant and roach sprays can be used, but have limited effects. It is best to try to control cricket populations from the outside in order to stop their migration inside, and for this, I would advise using a good emulsifiable concentrate pesticide like Suspend. It is mixed with water, and simply sprayed around the exterior of the house at any entry points. I also really like the granular product Niban which crickets seem to love. You can use this product inside, too, buy putting it out on paper plates along basement walls where you find the crickets.
So there it is. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!
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