Crickets (Gryllidae) are small insects which resemble grasshoppers in their mannerism. They can be classified into the following main categories:
• House crickets
• Camel crickets
• Field crickets
• Mole crickets
These tiny creatures, known as camel crickets because of the hunch on their backs, may seem to be very harmless in the beginning. They look and behave like spiders, and because of this are also known as spider crickets. However, the biggest reason that they are such a nuisance is because they ingest almost everything they come across, including their own fellows. This means nothing, absolutely nothing is safe in your beautifully decorated home in the event of a cricket attack – woolens, papers, decors, fabrics, and even your walls.
The major problem when it comes to dealing with camel crickets is the rate at which they breed. A camel cricket can live for a year or two, meaning they have lifecycles greater than most of their counterparts among the insects. And this also means they have all the time in the world to lay more eggs. And as camel crickets tend to flock together, you get countless eggs from countless crickets, amounting to countless damage.
Surefire Causes of Camel cricket infestation
The camel crickets in and around houses tend to get together because of the following reasons:
• Presence of cold and dark areas
• Presence of very bright lights
• Presence of excessive moisture
• Presence of open garbage
• Presence of wild bushes
• Unclean house.
Do camel crickets bite?
No. That is perhaps the only thing to be thankful about. They cannot bite because they do not possess fangs. However, that is no indication of their power for devouring things. You don’t have to lose your head in case one of them finds its way to your skin.
How to get rid of camel crickets?
Before starting with the remedies for getting rid of camel crickets, it is important to note there that identification of the variety of cricket is very important, because each variety comes with its own special method. Here, you may try talking to an expert, or if you are very confident about your own skills, you can research a bit before going about with the remedies.
Because of the problems listed above, it becomes imperative to get rid of these pesky creatures. Read on to know how to kill them or drive them away very easily:
1. Use soap water
Prepare soap water and pour it in a spray can. Spray it around the house in areas where there are likely to be camel crickets and their eggs. It penetrates the skin of these insects and causes cell damage, thus causing irritation. However, keep in mind that this method is effective only when the bubble comes in contact with the cricket while it is wet.
As camel crickets are strongly attracted to the smell of molasses, they can be used as a great trap for them. Just add a few spoons of molasses to water in 1:10 ratio in a shallow bowl. The smell would attract them in hordes to the bowl where they would get trapped. Place a few such bowls around your house.
3. Cedar oil
The cedar oil dehydrates the crickets by osmosis once they come into contact with the oil. This in turn leads to suffocation. Also, it emulsifies the body fats, finally killing them (1).
4. Neem oil
Neem (azadirachta indica) has always been super effective when it comes to taking care of unpleasant things, and even in the case of camel crickets, it doesn’t disappoint. It works a little differently from other insecticides. Once inside the body of the cricket, the compounds present in neem oil mess with the normal functioning of the hormonal system. Because of this, the crickets stop their life functions like eating, mating and laying eggs. And even if the eggs are laid, they do not hatch.
5. Peppermint oil
Peppermint oil is excellent for getting rid of camel crickets, especially when it is mixed with white vinegar.
6. Boric acid
Boric acid has a large number of uses, including being an awesome insecticide for beetles, cockroaches and crickets. Just dissolve some boric acid that is available in the powdered form in some water, and it would become an effective spray.
7. Diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth consists of the fossilized remains of tiny ancient aquatic organisms and has high silicon content. In addition to being used for beauty treatments, it also acts as an awesome insecticide owing to its dehydrating properties. In fact, it acts so well that it not only kills the camel crickets, but also destroys their eggs by desiccating or scorching them. Just sprinkle ample amounts of this in the powdered form in areas frequented by the crickets. Take care not to wet the powder in order to maintain the effectiveness.
However, if you have pets, make sure to use food grade diatomaceous earth instead of the one meant for treating pools to avoid poisoning. And always wear a mask while handling it.
Its insecticidal properties have been long known, and it is used in many natural candles and torches to repel mosquitoes. You should plant some sprigs of the herb in your garden to ward off camel crickets naturally. To prepare a spray, just soak some of the sprigs in water for some time, and spray that essence directly on the crickets the moment you spot them.
9. Eucalyptus oil
Like some other essential oils, eucalyptus oil too is great with camel crickets. Just apply some of it on the clothes in the drawers, on people’s bodies and even on your pets.
10. Invest in nitrogen-fixing plants
Rhizome plants, also known as nitrogen-fixing plants, irritate crickets and thus repel them. So invest in some plants like garlic, cilantro, clover and sweet peas. There are also some weeds which are beneficial in treating camel cricket infestation, like wormwood and alliums. Not only do they drive away the crickets, but they also make your garden soil fertile. And of course, this makes your façade beautiful.
11. Pepper sprays
We all know the power of pepper when it comes to repelling creatures as strong as human beings. So it is no surprise that even a mild dose is absolutely lethal for the tiny little critters.
There is another way you can use this. Take some red chili powder or red chili sauce and add 2 cups of water. After straining the mixture, add 2 more cups to dilute it. Now, pour this in a spray bottle and spray it in areas likely to be frequented by the crickets. This is fatal for the insects.
Borax can be used in two ways to get rid of camel crickets.
In a mixing bowl, add two cups of cornmeal and two teaspoons of borax and mix them well. Place it in strategic locations where there are already many crickets present. They will be attracted to this solution and jump in it, and thus be killed. Replace the solution once the bodies start piling up.
Another way to use borax to kill camel crickets is to add one teaspoon of beer to a teaspoon of the borax. Place the mixture after mixing them well in strategic locations. Once the crickets get attracted to it and killed, replace them.
13. Allow natural predators
While we have a tendency of thinking natural predators like lizards to be a nuisance, one or two of them in your house is actually quite beneficial, as they help in eliminating many of the smaller pests, including camel crickets. Keeping pets like cats are also a solution as they get attracted to the movements of these tiny creatures and make it a point to make a snack out of those they lay their eyes on.
However, note here that these predators should ideally not include mice. Mice and camel crickets actually have a symbiotic relationship, with the mice munching on them and the crickets feeding on mice poop. There is actually a nematode worm parasite that divides its time between the guts of the crickets and the mice. So you need to be very, very careful here.
14. Use a vacuum cleaner
A vacuum cleaner serves many purposes at once. It gets rid of the dirt, something which attracts the camel crickets. It also sucks in the eggs that might have been laid anywhere, from your carpets to the plant tub in the kitchen. And finally, it is also very good at sucking in the alive and kicking crickets themselves, though admittedly this can be a bit yucky. But the bottom line is that this is a very efficient, nontoxic and fast way to get rid of the camel crickets in your place.
15. Remove the eggs
It is very important to get rid of the eggs in order to prevent a colony of crickets sprouting up in the corner. You can use any of the stronger methods to get rid of them, including the vacuum cleaner. But this requires a very thorough search of the areas in and around your house. It may also be a bit hard to do this without chemicals.
16. Vapor barrier
As crickets have a thing for moisture, it is a good idea to install a vapor barrier in your home. It will reduce the moisture content and tamper with the living conditions of the crickets, and keep them away.
17. Develop good hygiene
To make your residence cricket free, it is necessary to get rid of the attractions. So take care of the following points to maintain a good hygiene at your home.
• Regularly trim your garden. This is important because the shrubs and leaves are the best places for the crickets to build their nests and lay eggs.
• Regularly clear out your garbage, as the accumulated heaps are ideal residences for the crickets.
• Have covered garbage disposal areas, as the smell of many of the components likely to be found in your bin is very attractive to the crickets.
18. Seal your place
Camel crickets do not breed inside people’s homes. At the same time, there is no guarantee that the moisture content or the cleanliness quotient of your place won’t lure in some of them. So it is always a good idea to seal in your home in the event of a cricket infestation nearby as that ensures they won’t be coming in through the cracks. Seal the tiniest of the fissures with plaster, caulk or cement and use tightly fitting screens on doors and windows fitted with draft excluders. Also, those already in would be interned, making them easier to catch.
19. Sticky traps
Apply some cornmeal on a sticky cardboard and hang it in an area where crickets are likely to come visiting. You can also put it in any of those dark corners, under the furniture, in your cupboard. Cornmeal being a favorite, the cricket will be attracted to the board and get stuck to it. This is one of the most efficient ways to get rid of camel crickets in your home. Glued cardboards or sticky traps are easily available over the counter, and are also safe when you have children and pets in your place.
20. Remove bright lights
It is important to light up the dark and damp corners of your house because those are where the crickets love residing. The lights make them uncomfortable, forcing them to abandon their perch. At the same time, remember that bright lights spread the festive cheer in the crickets as well. So avoid using them. Also, you can turn them off, especially those at the corridors, while turning in for the night to prevent them from sneaking in into your dark rooms while you are asleep. Take care to use shutters.
These were only some of the most effective homemade remedies for dealing with camel crickets. However, it may well be that they would prove ineffective. It all depends on the extent of infestation. Apart from these, there are a whole lot of products available in the market for dealing with camel crickets and their eggs. Some of the most popular synthetic items against camel crickets are Niban’s Granular Insecticide Bait, Delta Dust Insecticide, Cy-Kick CS and Equil Lambda 9.7 CS. The thing with treating camel cricket infestation on one’s own is that often, there is a risk of missing spots where the crickets have their nests. It is very important to tackle this problem at its roots. So, in case the problem doesn’t subside soon enough, seeking the help of experts is recommended.