Do crickets eat grass

4 Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Crickets in the House

Is the chirping sound of crickets driving you insane at night? Try these four natural remedies to get rid of the crickets hiding in your home.

How to Get Rid of Crickets

1. Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Grab a bag of food-grade diatomaceous earth and spread it along areas where crickets are likely to hide, such as wall crevices.

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic powder that will eradicate crickets by piercing and drying out their exoskeleton.

2. Create a Boric Acid Bait Trap
Create your own cricket bait by mixing two cups of cornmeal with two teaspoons of boric acid. Mix it well then place the bait close to areas where crickets are likely to gather at night.

3. Drown the Crickets with Molasses
Mix some molasses with water in a large container or jar. Place the container close to the cricket-infested area of the house. The crickets will be attracted to the scent of the molasses and drown once they hop into the container.

4. Seal Cricket-Entry Points
Prevent more crickets from entering your home by sealing up any gaps or cracks along the wall. Make use of weather-stripping material for sealing the gaps of doors and windows.

It also helps to know what kind of crickets you are dealing with as some of the above pest remedies may not work well for certain species of crickets. Here’s a description of the most common species of crickets you may find at home.

Camel Crickets
Camel crickets can be found in many places across the United States. They can be identified by their long hind legs and arched back. They also don’t chirp like other species of crickets.

One way of preventing camel cricket infestations at home is by reducing the areas of moisture. Inspect your house and fix any leaking faucets and pipes. A dehumidifier is also recommended for reducing moisture buildup indoors.

House Crickets
House crickets are yellow-brown in color and are fully-winged insects. House crickets like to feed on almost everything, such as paper and natural fabric. Deal with them soon or else you may find some holes on your wallpaper or clothes.

Other Pest Control Guides

  • How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs
  • Drain Fly Killer
  • How To Get Rid Of Snails

Sam Choan is the Founder of Organic Lesson. He started this site to share tips on using natural remedies at home when such options are available.

How To: Get Rid of Crickets

Photo: fotosearch.com

The chirping of crickets in the yard: It’s a familiar hallmark of summer, and for plenty of homeowners it’s a pleasant background noise that lends a sultry, evocative ambience to the evening. For others, the sound holds no charm, and if you’re unlucky enough to have a cricket stationed directly beneath your bedroom window, the chirping can quickly become a nightly nuisance. To get rid of crickets, unfortunately, you have to do more than just stand near the back door and shout, “Quiet!” Crickets don’t heed commands, no matter how desperate or heartfelt. But there are other, more sophisticated tactics to which they respond. Read on to learn how, with persistence and a bit of luck, you can successfully restore the cricket-free peace and quiet you once took for granted (and never will again).

Photo: fotosearch.com

STEP 1: Locate the source of the crickets

The first and most difficult step is figuring out where the crickets are in the first place. Your best bet is to follow the sound of chirping. Be forewarned that upon your approach, crickets in or near the nest are going to quiet down, thwarting your efforts. Even so, going by ear helps narrow down the search field.

As you look for the crickets making all that racket, focus on elements that provide cover, as crickets are fond of nesting in dark, moist environments. Check along the perimeter of patios or walkways, for example, or beneath decorative planters. Look, too, under layers of mulch or even in the compost heap.

If you are able to locate a nest, there are at least two ways to proceed. One is to cease watering that portion of your property, denying the crickets the water they need to survive. A somewhat more assertive method is to overwater. In either case, the goal is to force the crickets away from their nesting place.

It’s all well and good to drive out the crickets, but for a lasting solution you need to go a step further. After all, once you resume your regular watering, the crickets might return. To prevent that from happening, be sure to use dirt or, in certain situations, expanding foam in order to fill in any crickets nests that you find.

STEP 2: DIY or buy a pesticide

Attracted by your home’s welcoming lights, crickets seeking shelter may enter through cracks in the foundation or tiny openings around windows or doors. If it’s too late to prevent access by sealing up the building envelope, at least there are several ways to get rid of crickets that have come inside uninvited.

Don’t discount the classic sticky traps and glue boards, but if you’re looking for an easy, low-cost answer, look no further than your kitchen pantry. A jar filled with a 1:10 mixture of molasses and water works remarkably well. Drawn into the jar by the sweet smell, the crickets cannot escape and ultimately drown.

Alternatively, choose a store-bought pesticidal spray. Closely follow the product instructions, of course, and bear in mind that in the home, as in the outdoors, crickets tend to linger where it’s dark and moist. Therefore, concentrate your application of pesticide in likely spots—for example, under the kitchen sink.

STEP 3: Do preventative outdoor maintenance

As you’re dealing with an infestation, it’s important to take steps to prevent one from happening again. It’s worth the effort to button up your home’s exterior by means of caulks, sealants, and patching compounds. But no matter how well sealed and maintained it may be, your home can never be truly impervious to insects like crickets, despite your best efforts. So, it’s equally important to ensure that your home and its immediate surroundings hold as few enticements as possible.

Focus on the yard. Mowing the lawn, weeding plant beds, and removing yard debris—in effect, eliminating common hiding places—all go a long way toward discouraging crickets. In addition, take pains to create some breathing space between the house and its landscaping by pruning back shrubs near your foundation. If you keep a stock of firewood, try to store the logs at least 20 feet away from your home. And don’t forget to clear your gutters; they’re a notorious pest harborage.

Finally, because lights attract crickets, consider limiting your use of outdoor lighting or switching to motion sensor-activated fixtures. Or, in a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too scenario, exchange the standard bulb in each fixture for an amber-colored bug light. These specialty bulbs are less likely to act as a beacon for crickets and may help you manage pests without sacrificing the outdoor lighting you rely on for nighttime curb appeal and the safety of your visitors and family members.

Get Rid Of Crickets

Mole Cricket Treatments

It is easier to kill mole cricket nymphs than mole cricket adults when getting rid of your mole cricket population. Even though the mole cricket nymphs are wingless, they look like adults. The mole cricket nymphs can cause considerable damage to grass and lawns during the summer months when it is warm.

Thoroughly treat the targeted area with a granulated systemic insecticide such as Imidacloprid .5 Granules. Imidacloprid is a systemic insecticide, reaching into the soil to kill the nymphs that cause the damage. An alternative treatment would be using Bifen XTS as a liquid treatment. The Imidacloprid .5 Granules will last 3-6 months and the Bifen XTS will last 30 days.

Mole Cricket Treatment-Timing-Important for Control

Mole crickets treatment should be timed to kill immature crickets (nymphs), which do the most damage to turf grasses. In the Southern states, treat with Imidacloprid .5 Granules during the latter end of May or beginning of June. These granules last 3-6 months. From mid June to July, most of the eggs have hatched into nymphs. The nymphs at this point are not large enough to cause much damage; mid June-July would be the time to apply the liquid insecticide such as Bifen XTS. If you use the Imidacloprid .5 Granules, since they last so long, they may be applied before June and last through the summer.

House, Field, Camel Cricket Treatments

Recommended products and treatments to get rid of house, field and camel back crickets are : LambdaStar UltraCap 9.7, Cyper WSP, or D-Fense SC.

Spray the LambdaStar Ultracap 9.7 on all entry points, doors, windows, plumbing under the sinks, washer and dryer connections, baseboards and garage and basement areas and along the baseboards. Both of these products are odorless and last 3 months and are considered long term residual insecticides. Besides getting rid of crickets, they both can treat a multitude of insect pests.

If you don’t want to use a residual insecticide to get rid of crickets, an excellent alternative is a very effective bait called, Intice 10 Perimeter Bait.

These granules would be used inside and outside in non-food areas, in crawl spaces, basements, garages, or the perimeter of the home.

Type of Crickets

There four types of crickets most common: House Crickets, Camel Crickets, Field Crickets and Mole Crickets.

Crickets can be extremely annoying, but unless there are large numbers, they do little damage.

House Crickets

House Crickets live outdoors but may come inside in considerable numbers. Adults have three dark bands on the head, 3/4-1 inch long and are light yellowish-brown.

They will eat almost anything, will chew on or damage silk and woolens. House crickets are nocturnal, staying hidden during the day. They have a distinctive chirping sound. They can be found in warm places like kitchens, basements, fireplaces, also in cracks and crevices and behind baseboard.

House crickets will attack paper, damage silk, woolens, fruits, and vegetables all kinds of foods, and even rubber. However, unless large numbers occur, such damage is usually minor.

Crickets are rather closely related to cockroaches. Both crickets and roaches have a gradual metamorphosis. The young nymphs resemble adults, but the wings are not fully developed.

Field Crickets

Field crickets are widely distributed over the United States. This cricket is slightly longer than the House Cricket and is dark brown to Grey or black. Field crickets are seen in flower beds, overgrown grass and lawns. As an over-wintering insect, they lay eggs in the soil. Their eggs hatch in late spring and develop to adults by late summer.The life of a Field cricket is about ninety days.

Field crickets prefer to live outside, feeding on plants, but will come inside if food sources dry up or there or unfavorable extremes in temperatures.

Since Field crickets are attracted to lights at night, further control can be obtained by turning off these lights. Sealing off crack and crevices to keep them from entering homes and structures should be done as much as possible.

Camel Crickets

Camel crickets are also known as hump-back crickets due to its’ hump-back appearance. Camel crickets are light to dark brown, about 1/2 -1 1/2 inch long.

These insects are not true crickets since they do not have wings.

Their diet is almost anything but camel crickets will feed on clothes. Camel Crickets are most often are found in crawl spaces and basements, but also like any cool and damp area like under logs or stones. Treat camel crickets as you would house crickets, but pay particular attention to crawl spaces and basements.

Camel crickets are light to dark brown, about 1/2 – 1 1/2 inch long. Their diet is almost anything but will feed on clothes. Camel crickets are most often are found in crawl spaces and basements, but also like any cool and damp area like under logs or stones. Treat as you would the House Cricket, but pay particular attention to crawl spaces and basements.

Mole Crickets

From left to right, Shortwinged mole cricket, Tawny mole Cricket and Southern Mole Cricket, on the right.*

Adult mole crickets are rounded, winged and 1 to 1.25 inches long. Mole crickets are seldom seen, because, like moles, they stay underground most of the time.

Mole Crickets overwinter as adults in the soil. Mole crickets fly and mate twice a year, spring and fall. At this time, you will find their exit holes of an inch or more. Mole cricket nymphs are wingless but look like small adults. The nymphs can become very numerous and cause great damage to your grass during the warm summer months. Control methods aimed at eliminating mole cricket nymphs yield the best results, simply because they easier to kill than adults. The adult Mole Crickets appear in late winter or early spring and will tunnel throught the soil surface (looks like a narrow tunnel). They are often seen on sidewalks, driveways, around swimming pools, and are attracted to lights. They lay their eggs in the soil in pockets. It is important to wait for the nymph stages in order to treat. Treating adult Mole crickets is very difficult. Treat the nymph stage instead of targeting the adult stages.

*Photograph by Lyle Buss, Univ. of Florida

If you are not sure that you have Mole Crickets you can soak the suspected area with soapy water. Mix 1-2 oz of a liquid dishwashing soap to a couple gallons of water. Starting at the outer edge of the suspected area, begin to soak the area. If the mole crickets are present, they will begin to emerge as you flush them out . This technique is also handy for searching for Chinch Bugs.

Mole Cricket Damage Symptoms

  • Mole cricket damage appears as surface ridges. The turf has been damaged by tunnels made by the mole crickets.
  • Both nymphs and adults feed on grass roots and stems, so there will be damaged or dead plants.
  • The Northern Mole Crickets and the Southern Mole Crickets are two common mole cricket species that attack plants.
  • Areas with sandy soil with Bermudagrass and bahiagrass are more affected than is St. Augustinegrass.
  • Vegetable crops may also be damaged by the mole crickets.

Mole crickets are the number one pest of turf in southern Alabama and Georgia, throughout Florida, and are spreading quickly along the Gulf Coastal region and Eastern Seaboard. Their damage appears as brown, spongy areas within normal green grass. Upon inspection, you will notice the grass has been eaten just below the surface, separating the plant from its roots. Mole crickets are especially fond of Bermuda and centipede grass, but have also been found in St. Augustine lawns in the Florida Panhandle and along the Alabama coast.

Mole crickets prefer sandy soil and are active at night. When the soil is moist, Southern Mole crickets can tunnel beneath the surface to to 20 feet per night looking for insects and earthworms as a food source.The Tawny mole cricket feed on plants, damaging roots, stems and tubers.

Damage by mole crickets in turfgrass. Photo is courtesy of Univ. of Georgia.

Tiny Crickets on the Ground are Called Ground Crickets

Several people have recently reported noticing an abundance of small (3/8 inch long) crickets. These runts of the cricket world are called ground crickets, or pygmy field crickets. Ground crickets are a separate taxonomic group from the typical (and larger) black field crickets. They are not just smaller individuals or immature of the usual field crickets. When you look closely you see these are fully-grown adults with wings (as you will recall, only adult insects have wings!).

Ground crickets look like “regular” crickets except for the very small size. Check out the BugGuide website for photos of ground crickets.

As with everything else crickets vary greatly from year to year and place to place. It’s possible that the moist weather last fall and the snow-covered winter were conducive to their reproduction and survival, though I don’t know exactly how.

Ground crickets are not as well known as the field crickets (probably because of their size). As with the black field crickets, ground crickets are attracted to lights and very large numbers may be present on the pavement under street lights and store lights in the early night. Ground crickets are scavengers and feed on a wide variety of plants and other insects. Ground crickets are generally not pests of crops, gardens or landscapes. Control in the lawn and garden is not usually warranted.

Ground crickets may be annoying under lights and may wander indoors as accidental invaders, though they are not as consistently a pest as are the larger, better known (and noisier) field crickets. Large numbers of ground crickets inside the house could result in damage to fabrics, paper and other household materials. Sealing cracks and gaps to exclude accidental invaders is recommended as are perimeter sprays of residual insecticide (applied outdoors to sills, thresholds and potential entry points). Ground cricket males chirp (as do the black field crickets) though the sound is much higher pitched and is a trill rather than a chirp.

Click on the Music of Nature website for a recording of the male ground cricket song.

Crickets

Crickets live all over Australia and you have probably heard them – but maybe not seen one.

The most common is the Black Field Cricket. Only the male of this species ‘chirp’ by rubbing their wings together. They do it to attract females, to woo them, and to warn off other male competitors.

Black Field Crickets are widespread in eastern and southern Australia. It’s not hard to spot one jumping around as they grow to about 2.5 cm long. Their body and wings are brown, and their heads, long antennas and hind legs are all black. Adult crickets live for about three months.

It’s quite tricky to sneak up on a cricket. Their chirps often sound like they are coming from somewhere else. But they will jump if surprised, so you may see where it lands if you disturb one.

How do you tell a female cricket from a male, if neither is chirping? The female has a long cylindrical tube at the rear of her body. This is her ‘ovipositor’ which she uses for laying 2 mm wide eggs about 1 cm into the soil where they will be safe.

Black Field Crickets lay their eggs around April. A female can lay up to 1,500 to 2,000 eggs and she lays them from late summer to late autumn. These eggs remain dormant over the winter and hatch in spring.

Young crickets, known as nymphs, grow slowly through 9 to 10 nymph stages as they gradually develop into adults. Juvenile Black Field Crickets are similar in appearance to adults but lack wings and have a distinctive white band around their middle. It is only in the later nymph stages that they develop wings and females also develop an ovipositor.

Black Field Crickets have only one generation a year, with some overlap with the early and late stage nymphs and the adult crickets. It is usually only the adults which are heard and seen, as the youngsters blend in extremely well with tufts of grass.

These crickets love heavy clay-like soils which crack when they dry out. Cracks provide safe places for the crickets to hide during the day, especially when it is hot or there are predators such as birds around. At night, Black Field Crickets emerge to feed on plants.

Normally, Black Field Crickets are mostly a ground living insect, but will take to the air when numbers are too great and food becomes scarce.

Crickets usually live outside but may come inside to get away from waterlogged ground after rains, or when the weather turns very cold.

Popular hang outs are corners, window sills, cabinets and couches. In the garden they eat insects, but once inside, the menu offers furniture fabrics, clothes, paper and kitchen scraps. Of particular attraction to crickets are wallpaper and its glue.

Normally, crickets feed on decaying plant material and insect remains, and are prey to birds, mice, frogs, possums and many other creatures. They are an important animal in the food chain.

You can tell a Short-Horned grasshopper from a cricket by the size of their antennae. Crickets have longer antennae than these grasshoppers. Most grasshoppers also feed on plant material, whereas crickets are omnivores. Also crickets are mainly nocturnal, whereas Short-Horned grasshoppers are active during the day.

Black Field Crickets are good buddies to have in your garden as they will help aerate your soil, which helps water penetrate into it.

Did you know?

Crickets have ‘ears’ in their legs just below their knees. The ear drums, one on each foreleg, are sensitive membranes which act as receivers of differences in pressure and can help crickets find a mate, be forewarned about predators or locate prey.

The most common crickets in backyards are the House Cricket, Mole Cricket and Black Field Cricket. The King cricket is large and flightless and can devour funnel web spiders with its enormous, terrifying-looking mouth parts. It’s usually only found in rainforests. You can recognise crickets and grasshoppers by their ‘song’ which they make by rubbing parts of each wing together. They have a hardened area on one wing which is scraped against ridges on the other, like a file.

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Cricket Control: How To Get Rid of Crickets

This page is a general Cricket control guide. Using the products and methods suggested you will get control of the most commonly found Crickets. Follow this guide and use the recommended products and we guarantee 100% control of Crickets.

The chirping of Crickets may seem pleasant for some, but for most trying to get a decent sleep in, Crickets can be an annoying irritant to deal with on a nightly basis. Crickets thrive at night time and though they are often hard to spot, they can definitely be heard due to their incessant chirping.

When they have infiltrated a home, Crickets are notorious for eating into clothing and other fabrics throughout the house. They are also known to destroy wallpaper and eat on fabrics in furniture, drapes, rugs, and carpeting. In agriculture and home gardens, Crickets can be destructive by eating crops and seeds.

If you are dealing with a Cricket infestation and want a solution, we have the guide for you. Read on below to learn more about this pest and how you can successfully eliminate an infestation using our professional-grade products and expert advice.

Identification

Identification is crucial for control. Before you can treat you need to make absolutely sure you’re dealing with Crickets and not some other pest. Crickets are small to medium-sized insects with mostly cylindrical, somewhat vertically flattened bodies. They can vary in color depending on species but could be yellowish-brown, to tan, to dark brown in color. They usually have five eyes, two large eyes, and three small ones on the forehead.

There are over 900 different species of cricket which often get mistaken for the grasshopper which it resembles in appearance. The difference between Crickets and Grasshoppers can be distinguished by observing the wings. While crickets fold their wings against the sides of their bodies, grasshoppers fold theirs in a high tent-like fashion over their bodies.

Crickets also make a distinctive chirping noise. This chirping is essentially a mating call conducted by male crickets to attract females. The male cricket noise produces the noise by rubbing his forewings together. The chirping noise differs depending on the species.

While there is a wide variety of crickets that exist, the ones which most commonly are found in and around the home are field crickets and house crickets.

Inspection

Once you have properly identified Crickets, you will now need to locate where they are hiding in or around the home. Conducting an inspection will help you figure out where to focus your application of treatment products.

Where To Inspect

Outdoors, start by looking for entry points around the outside perimeter of your home. Crickets can jump up to 3 feet high and this ability enables them to gain access into the home by jumping into vents weep holes, openings around utility pipes, cracks in door and window frames and other such areas. Indoors, they can be found practically anywhere in the home but tend to stay closer to the perimeter walls, secluded areas and where there is clutter for cover (attics, basements, garages, etc.)

What To Look For

You’re looking for Crickets and any Cricket eggs. If you carry out your inspection at night, use a flashlight, you might be able to locate them by their chirping sounds. At night, they tend to flock around outdoor lights in the patio and yard. Inside your home look in cracks and crevices and baseboards. Cricket eggs are harder to find because they are small (2 to 3 mm in length). You can check behind and under large appliances that generate heat. When you can’t find Crickets, check for damage they may have left on fabrics or furniture.

Treatment

Once you have confirmed Cricket activity, you can carry on with treatment. Remember to first read all product labels and follow the application instructions on these labels, and stay safe by wearing personal protective equipment.

To control the Cricket infestation, we recommend applying Reclaim IT Insecticide. Reclaim IT is a liquid repellant insecticide concentrate labeled to control over 70 different pests. Indoors, we recommend Pyrid Aerosol to kill Crickets you find indoors on contact or to flush them out of areas where they may be hiding in clusters. We also recommend applying D-Fense Dust to round out your indoor treatment and kill Crickets hiding in hard to reach tight spaces.

Step 1 – Use Reclaim IT Outdoors

Outdoors, we recommend using Reclaim IT to create an insecticidal barrier around your property to repel and prevent Crickets from coming inside. The best thing about Reclaim IT is that it will keep working for up to 3 months.

Calculate the square footage of your yard by measuring and multiplying length x width to help you determine how much Reclaim IT you will need. 1 ounce of Reclaim IT with a gallon of water in a pump sprayer will treat 1,000 square feet. Once the appropriate amount is mixed in your sprayer, create a perimeter barrier around your structure by spraying 3 feet up and 3 feet out from the foundation. Also spray window frames, door frames, eaves, air vents, and electrical/plumbing penetrations.

Step 2 – Apply Pyrid Aerosol Indoors

Pyrid is a great insecticide Aerosol for treating Crickets because it delivers a quick knockdown with no residual.

To apply Pyrid in broad areas such as around windows, make sure the white applicator is firmly attached. Shake the can well and spray in swift sweeping motions. To apply in the cracks and crevices where you have noticed Crickets, replace the white applicator with the red crevice application tip. Shake the can well and spray in a sweeping motion along the length of the crevice. Keep people and pets away from treated areas until dry and vapors have dispersed.

Step 3 – Apply D-Fense Dust

D-Fense Dust is a great insecticide product for treating Crickets because it is moisture-resistant making it ideal for application in areas where Crickets are gathering. It will also leave a residual (or long-term effects) that will last for up to 8 months.

To use D-Fense Dust you will need a handheld duster. Fill the duster halfway with D-Fense Dust, and leave plenty of space for the air to circulate. Apply in the cracks and crevices where you have noticed Crickets such as voids where plumbing penetrates walls, along baseboards, in weep holes, and other tight areas.

Prevention

After treatment, you will no longer have a Cricket infestation, but that doesn’t mean they won’t return and reinfest. This is why you will need to enact preventative measures to make sure they don’t.

Start by closing up small entry points outside of your structure with Stuf-Fit Copper Mesh and caulk. Crickets can sneak in via the tiniest of openings so you will need to be thorough. Repair damaged screens and door seals. Outdoors, trim back vegetation including any overhanging branches on nearby trees.

Outdoors to prevent Crickets you should turn off any outdoor light if possible around dusk if this is not possible switch to low-pressure sodium vapor lamps or yellow incandescent “bug lights,” which are less attractive to Crickets.

Finally, preventative treatment of Reclaim IT Insecticide in late summer and early fall will provide control in the season when Crickets are most active. Depending on your location their swarming dates could change so apply a month in advance when they are most active.

Key Takeaways

  • Crickets are a nuisance pest known for their loud chirping noises at night and infesting in large numbers when temperatures drop.
  • To eliminate Crickets, we recommend Reclaim IT Insecticide, Pyrid Aerosol and D-Fense Dust.
  • Prevent Crickets infesting in the future with exclusion measures like sealing cracks and crevices and preventative applications of Reclaim IT Insecticide.

Black Field Cricket

This is the season for crickets damaging lawns and entering our homes as a casual intruder pest.
Black field crickets are normally a problem only in Northland, Auckland, Hawke’s Bay and parts of Taranaki. Eggs are laid in moist soil from February to May, and nymphs (immature adults) emerge from November to January. Adults appear from February and live for two or three months inhabiting cracks in the soil. During long drought periods the growing crowns of grasses are attacked; this often kills the plants and leaves the soil open to weed invasion.
How to Get Rid of Black Field Crickets

  1. A bait can be made by mixing NO Insects Maldison with grain (wheat, barley or crushed maize) at the rate of 12.5g to 1kg grain and spread on 500-1000m2 depending on extent of infestation. This should applied around February when the adults appear.
  2. Prevent crickets with NO Insects Lawngard Prills, kill the insects in the soil. Sprinkle the prills on affected lawn and water in. Eggs and nymphs and adults the hide in cracks in the ground will also be killed on contact with the insecticide.
  3. Stop crickets entering your home. Spray entrance points and areas where crickets are seen with NO Bugs Super surface insecticide.

Why is it better to be a grasshopper than a cricket?
Because grasshoppers can play cricket but crickets can’t play grasshopper.

Beneficial Insects: The Good Guys in the Garden

Our gardens are teeming with insects, mites, spiders, and other creatures. To a new gardener every “bug” is a likely suspect. As we learn more about gardening and that elusive thing called “the balance of nature,” we discover that very few insects are pests worth our concern. Most are either beneficial, of no direct significance, or have a role yet to be understood fully.

The fraction that is pests get a lot of attention. A few stink bugs on a tomato plant or some hungry flea beetles on an eggplant seedling are indeed cause for concern. However, our efforts to control these pests can have a direct effect on the “good guys of the garden.”

Most sprays, whether organic or synthetic, tend to not discriminate between pests and beneficials. When you spray the garden, pests will be killed but so will beneficial insects. When you kill a beneficial insect you inherit its job. That lady beetle larvae may be about to eat several dozen aphids. When it dies, controlling those aphids and their thousands of potential offspring is now your job.


Lady beetle larva eating aphids.

In the old westerns it was easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Good guys wore white hats; bad guys wore black hats and were the ones shooting at the hero from behind those rocks in the box canyon. Unfortunately bugs don’t wear hats, so we have to work a little at learning who’s who in the garden. We gardeners would do well to learn who these good guys are so we can monitor their presence and avoid spraying unless absolutely necessary. Adult lady beetles (pictured), bees, and praying mantids are familiar beneficial insects, but there are many more, such as green lacewings, hover flies, ground beetles, and soldier bugs. And often the immature stage of the “good guys” looks completely different from the adult insect. (What appears to be a picture of a tiny alligator on a leaf is actually a hungry lady beetle larva busy hunting down aphids.) Check out on-line resources and garden books for pictures of all the life stages of the helpful insects you’d like to welcome in your garden.

Attracting beneficials

Beneficial insects are part of the natural ecosystem. They can be “managed” in ways to encourage them to stay around and increase in population. Here are four simple ways to attract beneficial insects to our gardens and to make sure they stay around.

  1. Provide an accessible source of water. A birdbath with some stones that stick up out of the water to provide easy access for tiny beneficials or a periodic sprinkling will work great.
  2. Plant flowers to provide nectar and pollen for beneficial adults to feed upon. Species such as syrphid flies and parasitic wasps need this for an energy source. Among the better pollen food sources are plants that have umbrella-shaped bloom heads, such as dill, yarrow, tansy, and fennel. Other plants to include are those with small daisy-like flowers (such as chamomile and feverfew), and other blooming herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary). If you plant root vegetables, leave a few to go to seed (carrots, radishes, turnips) as their blooms are also favorites of some beneficial insects.
  3. Allow some pests to remain as a food source for beneficial insects. Zero pest populations are not sustainable and will leave beneficials with no reason to stay in your garden area. Lady beetles are our friends but they are not philanthropic! They lay eggs on plants with pests present so their babies can have food. No pests … they move on. Just remember that it’s good to have a few pests around.
  4. Avoid pesticides that may damage beneficial insects. This includes both organic and synthetic products. And don’t spray indiscriminately. Before you use any pesticide, make sure you have identified that a pest is indeed causing a problem and what type of pest it is. When a situation warrants a spray, select a product with a narrow spectrum of control (such as Bt that only targets caterpillars) to avoid killing other insects. Choose one that breaks down fast when possible, such as insecticidal soap or neem. Direct the spray only at the plants with the pest problem.

Try these tips this season and then take a few strolls out in the garden and give things a closer look. You’ll see many species of beneficial insects helping you out by munching on those pests that love to munch on the fruits of your labor.

Information courtesy of the National Gardening Association, www.garden.org.

Some garden pests just have to go. (We’re looking at you, Japanese beetles.) However, other insect species can help you wage the war against harmful blights. If you spot one of these ten helpful critters, know that they’re here to help, not hurt.

Aphid Midge

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Pollen plants will bring aphid midges to your garden. Both the tiny, long-legged adult flies and the larvae feed on more than 60 species of aphids by paralyzing their prey with toxic saliva.

Braconid Wasps

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The adult female of this species injects its eggs into host insects, including caterpillars, moths, beetle larvae, and aphids. The larvae then feed inside their hosts and the host dies once the larvae have completed development. Grow nectar plants with small flowers such as dill, parsley, wild carrot, and yarrow to bring them to your garden.

Damsel Bugs

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Damsel bugs feed on aphids, small caterpillars, leafhoppers, thrips, and other pesky pests. Collect damsel bugs from alfalfa fields using a sweep net, and then release them in and around your vegetable garden.

Ground Beetles

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The nocturnal ground beetle is a voracious predator of slugs, snails, cutworms, cabbage maggots, and other pests that live in your garden’s soil. One beetle larva alone can eat more than 50 caterpillars. Plant perennials among garden plants for stable habitats, or white clover as a groundcover in orchards.

Lacewings

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Both adult lacewings and their larvae eat aphids, caterpillars, mealybugs, scales, thrips, and whiteflies. Angelica, coreopsis, cosmos, and sweet alyssum will bring lacewings to your garden.

Lady Beetles

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Adult lady beetles eat aphids, mites, and mealybugs — and their hungry larvae do even more damage to garden pests. Plant angelica, coreopsis, dill, fennel, and yarrow to attract them.

Minute Pirate Bugs

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The quick-moving, black-and-white minute pirate bugs will attack almost any insect. Goldenrods, daisies, alfalfa, and yarrow will attract these helpful bugs.

Soldier Beetles

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The soldier beetle feeds on aphids and caterpillars, as well as other insects — including harmless and beneficial species. Attract this flying insect by planting catnip, goldenrod, and hydrangea.

Spined Soldier Bug

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The spined soldier bug’s pointed “shoulders” distinguish it from the peskier stink bug. Plant permanent beds of perennials to provide shelter for this predator of hairless caterpillars and beetle larvae.

Tachinid Flies

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The tachinid fly larvae burrow their way into many caterpillars, destroying these garden pests from the inside. Plant dill, parsley, sweet clover, and other herbs to attract adult flies.

dealing with crickets
Crickets are a well-known part of some for a long time crickets mating calls have been the song of summer.
However, while their sound can be pleasant while you are on the camping trip they can be downright annoying in your backyard or in your house.
Getting rid of crickets is something you can deal with in many steps.
First off you can start by using cricket bait. This is an easy method for drawing out Crickets from the corners and crevices.
It is often the easiest and quickest solution.
Another thing you can do is to set traps the sticky glue trap is a great way to catch crickets that uses no toxins or chemicals.
If the situation is less localized a bug spray is a great way to spray up in the area and kill off crickets, most bug sprays are effective against crickets.
However, if you have the infestation is serious it is time to consider calling in the professional pest control company to deal with the problem once and for all.
At Pasadena, best pest control be know that dealing with the cricket problem is not the end of the world however it is a headache that you don’t want around and I can be a major hassle if you don’t know what you are doing.
If you have time to do with the cricket on your own any one of the methods that we have recommended will work however if you’re looking to have somebody else do with the problem calling a professional pest control company to consult on the situation is a major step in the right direction.
When you call for pest control services a professional pest company will come to your home they will thoroughly inspect everything they’ll make a determination of how to best deal with your pest-control problem and then it will begin the process of eliminating any and all Crickets that made their home in your home.
A Professional pest control company Pasadena best pest control has a long history of dealing with all kinds of different issues everything from vermin like rats and mice all the way down to crickets.
So give the team here at Pasadena best pest control call Will come to your home and we will inspect and Make sure that everything but needs to be taken care of is taken care of the right way.
As a pest control company always believed in taking care of our clients both in how we deal with their past problem and how we make sure that their pest-control needs and questions are answered the correct way so if you need has control services or you have questions and concerns. We are standing by ready to help we’ll do a thorough inspection and we will make sure that everything you need to be taken care of this taken care of the right way.
Pasadena best pest control is standing by ready by ready to help so give us a call right now.

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