What’s a cricket?
There are about one hundred cricket species that can be found in the United States.
Crickets can be found throughout the world. There are approximately 900 different species and about one hundred of them can be found in the United States. In many parts of the world, particularly China, crickets are thought to bring good luck. They are considered a delicacy in some countries and an important part of a healthy diet in others. Here in Southern California, they are noted for bringing sleepless nights. Aptly named, a group of crickets is known as an orchestra.
Life Cycle: The life cycle of the cricket can be divided into 3 stages: egg, nymph and adults. It takes about 40 to 45 days from egg to adulthood and the whole life cycle takes around 2 to 3 months. Crickets go through incomplete metamorphosis, meaning they don’t enter into a pupal stage, but hatch from the egg looking just like adult crickets. Nymphs usually go through 8 to 10 instars before reaching adulthood. At about 1 month of age, crickets start to develop wings.
Originally from eastern Asia, the house cricket was introduced into the U.S. by travelers unwittingly or on purpose as exotic pets, as was a habit in China and Japan. They are commercially bred as food for pets such as fish, birds and reptiles. Crickets are often very difficult to find due to their ability to camouflage to their surroundings. They flourish in temperatures of 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit but can also be found in cooler climates.
Commonly known as the Western Trilling Cricket is just one species of field cricket. It’s called a trillings cricket because the males song is nearly continuous rather than broken up chirps. This cricket is medium in size and nearly jet black with some dark brown areas. Typical of many field crickets, G. integer can be found living in cracks or burrows in the ground in disturbed areas such as roads or by buildings, and around human habitation. This cricket can be found in Oregon, California, Arizona and New Mexico.
Jerusalem crickets are a group of large, flightless insects that are native to the western United States and parts of Mexico.
Despite their common name, Jerusalem crickets are not true crickets, nor are they native to Jerusalem. These nocturnal insects use their strong mandibles to feed on dead organic matter but they’ll also feed on other insects. Their highly adapted, feet are used for burrowing beneath moist soil to feed on decaying root plants and tubers. While Jerusalem crickets are not poisonous, they can emit a foul smell and can inflict a painful bite.
Other names for this unusual looking insect include the Navajo c’os bic’ic lici, (red skull bug), the Hopi qalatötö (shiny bug), the Spanish niño de la tierra (earth child) and cara de niño (child’s face). It is also known in some places in the U.S. as a potato bug.
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