Known as spider crickets, camel crickets, cave weta, cave crickets, sprickets, criders, camelback crickets, or Rhaphidophoridae to Latin speakers and entomologists, these notorious little creatures are ironically neither spiders nor crickets. Instead, they are from the order of Orthoptera, meaning they are actually a relative of the grasshopper. Despite the length of their legs, you’ll notice they only have 6, and despite their cricket-like appearance they lack an inner ear – a characteristic of insects belonging to the order of Gryllidae including the common cricket – and if you listen closely you’ll notice that they do not chirp.
You may have guessed it based on your experience, or based on their nickname “cave crickets”, but spider crickets thrive in cool, dark, and damp environments. Traditionally they have made their homes in caves, but these insects have had no problem making homes for themselves in America’s basements. Spider crickets can be found in nearly every region of the United States, but you are much more likely to find them east of the Mississippi River: from Lousiana to Maine and everywhere in between. Some experts estimate close to a billion crickets may be living in the eastern United States alone! But the question still remains: what are these Rhaphidophoridae capable of?
Should You Worry About Spider Crickets in Your Home?
Humans have been living alongside spider crickets for thousands of years; one of our ancient ancestors — an inhabitant of the Cave of the Trois-Frères in France — rendered a depiction of a female spider cricket at least 15,000 years ago. While there is no reason to panic, you’ll certainly want to do something about your new neighbors.
Spider crickets don’t technically bite or sting, so you don’t need to worry about them giving you itchy lumps on your body or taking a chunk out of your skin, but they do gnaw with their mandibles. If one ends up on your exposed flesh and decides to try to chew, you may experience some unpleasantness, though nothing more than that. The real problem is that where there is one spider cricket, there are often many, many more (a room full of spider crickets hopping around has been known to make a popping sound), and they are capable of using those mandibles to cause unwanted damage to your home.
Spider cricket infestations might start in a basement or crawl space, but as their colony multiplies, they will spill out into more heavily used living areas like bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens. This is where the real damage can start. Spider crickets are known to use their surprisingly powerful mandibles to attack both organic and synthetic fabrics and quickly destroy your beloved rugs, clothing, drapes, and so on. They love fabrics, but will truly eat almost anything in their path, including fungi, cardboard, or even wood. In addition to their voracious appetite, spider crickets can cause trouble by jumping at unsuspecting members of the household. As a defense mechanism, spider crickets use their powerful legs to launch themselves at and scare away potential predators.
Spider crickets certainly love to chow down on the materials inside your home, but even more dangerous are the creatures that love to chow down on the spider crickets. Due to their impressive size, spider crickets make a delicious, protein-rich snack for undesirable house guests such as rats and mice, which can cause even more trouble. While some may see this as a great opportunity to get a cat, we think most people would rather deal with their initial insect problem before falling too deep down the “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Spider Cricket” rabbit hole.
How You Can Kick Spider Crickets Out of Your Home, For Good
The only surefire way to see your spider cricket cohabitants gone for good is to work with a reliable pest control expert. But depending on the scale of your problem, you may also find some success with these DIY methods.
As with almost anything, the best way to prevent a spider cricket infestation is to put precautions in place before the problem exists. Even if you are in the midst of your spider cricket problem it is always a good idea to take these necessary steps to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again. Inspect the caulk on your home’s foundation. Any breaks in the caulk will make great entrances for spider crickets and other unwanted pests, so re-caulking those breaks should be fairly straightforward. If you want to really provide your home with extra defense against these invaders, weatherstripping basement windows and other entrances towards to foundation of the house may be a good option for you as well. You also may want to invest in a high-efficiency dehumidifier, as the humidity of a basement or a crawlspace is what makes your home an attractive destination during the cooler and dryer fall and winter months. Another way to make your house less hospitable to spider crickets is by clearing up clutter so they have fewer places to hide. This will also likely allow natural light to cover more space in your house, and as spider crickets are drawn to the dark, this may help limit the size of the population.
Before these crickets were drawn into your home, they were drawn to the space around your home. We recommend minimizing the scale of your infestation by removing any hiding spots adjacent to your home. Try redecorating by limiting the areas nearby with woodpiles, tall grass, mulch, or other places that might provide space for spider crickets to congregate and reproduce.
These preventative measures are truly the best way to make sure an infestation ends before it has a chance to start, but once spider crickets are in your home there are still a few DIY methods to limit the growth of their population. Like with any pest, traps are a decent way to catch the spider crickets. Glue traps are generally effective, especially when paired with bait such as a piece of bread. Another even more simple DIY trap is a bowl of soapy water. As they are attracted to moisture they will be drawn to the water, and then fall in. Of course you can also take more confrontational methods like sucking them up with a vacuum cleaner, or simply smushing them with a shoe or magazine, but these methods will put you in danger of getting pounced on.
Assure Pest Control Success with the Experts at Termiguard
The pest control experts at Termiguard will make your spider cricket problem a thing of the past, so that you can focus on the more important things in life. We offer great rates and customizable packages, because we want to make sure that we leave you satisfied. We offer free consultations so that we can get to know you, and the extent of your insect problem, so that we can work together to come up with the solution that will work and keep your home insect free. We always help our homeowners: from the initial inspection, to collaborating on a plan, to the services our technicians provide, and finally to our follow up to ensure that our plan was a success. We offer you professionalism, honesty, and respect, so if any of our services are not up to par with your or our expectations we guarantee your money back. We have the skills, the resources, and the attitude to make your spider cricket problem go away, and more importantly we have the commitment to make sure that it never comes back.
Contact us today to learn more about our pest control programs!