Finding crickets in your home can be an unpleasant surprise. Their constant chirping disrupts your peace and quiet. And seeing the insects hopping around your rooms can be unsettling. Getting rid of a cricket infestation requires diligence and patience. But there are several highly effective, natural methods that can eliminate these pests without the use of harsh chemicals.
Understanding Why Crickets Invade Homes
Crickets are cold-blooded creatures drawn to the warmth, shelter, and humidity inside houses. As temperatures drop in the fall, they begin seeking out cozy indoor environments. Cracks in your home’s foundation and gaps around windows, doors, pipes, vents, and siding provide easy access points for entering.
Once a few pioneer crickets discover a way in, they release pheromones that attract other crickets to use the same entry spot. Infestations often start in damp basements, crawlspaces, garages, and attics where crickets find ideal conditions to breed and multiply.
Female crickets lay hundreds of eggs in hidden corners, under debris, and deep inside crevices and voids. The eggs hatch into nymphs that develop into adults in as little as 6-8 weeks. Populations can explode exponentially if given abundant food, water, and shelter. Getting rid of crickets requires cutting off their survival essentials.
Step 1: Eliminate Food Sources
Crickets are omnivores and not particularly picky eaters. They will feed on a wide variety of household food items like crumbs, pet food, pantry items, fruits/vegetables, paper, and fabrics. Practicing good sanitation deprives crickets of calories needed to thrive.
- Sweep and vacuum floors daily to remove all crumbs and debris. Pay special attention to corners and along edges where crumbs accumulate. Move furniture to sweep behind and underneath.
- Immediately clean up any food spills or drips. Don’t leave pet food or water bowls out overnight.
- Store human and pet food in sealed rigid plastic, glass, or metal containers. Tightlidding bins deny crickets access.
- Take garbage and recycling out regularly. Crickets will scavenge anything edible from trash.
- Inspect packages and containers for signs of cricket feeding. Discard anything they have contaminated.
- Keep kitchen counters and dining areas free of food remnants after meals.
- Remove piles of paper products, boxes, or other clutter where crickets could hide and eat.
Following meticulous sanitation practices leaves crickets with nothing to eat. Hungry crickets will look elsewhere for their next meal.
Step 2: Eliminate Water Sources
Crickets need moisture to survive indoors. Fixing plumbing leaks, drying out damp areas, and controlling humidity removes their water supply.
- Repair leaky pipes, faucets, and appliances that provide drinking water for crickets.
- Look for condensation, water stains, or mold on walls, floors, and cabinets. These indicate problem moisture areas.
- Use a dehumidifier to keep basement and crawlspace humidity under 45%.
- Make sure air conditioning drip pans are draining properly.
- Fill low areas and improve drainage around the foundation to reduce standing water.
- Fix gutters and redirect rain runoff away from the house perimeter.
- Ventilate and circulate air in problem rooms using fans, vents, and dehumidifiers.
- Seal concrete floors and foundations with waterproof coatings.
- Insulate water pipes, exterior walls, attics to reduce condensation.
- Look for plumbing leaks inside walls and under floors.
Depriving crickets of water forces them to go elsewhere. Stopping moisture issues also helps eliminate breeding habitat.
Step 3: Seal Up Entry Points
Once inside, crickets need hidden harborage to establish breeding colonies. Sealing shut potential entryways denies them secure shelter.
- Caulk and seal cracks around windows, doors, pipes, vents, and wires with silicone or caulk.
- Weatherstrip doors and windows to close gaps around frames.
- Repair holes or damage in window and door screens.
- Seal openings where utilities like cables, wires, and pipes penetrate walls.
- Use expanding foam or cement to fill larger gaps and cracks in the foundation.
- Replace loose mortar and bricks in stone foundations.
- Install door sweeps and bottom seals to cover gaps at thresholds.
- Remove debris and vegetation touching the exterior walls.
- Ensure attic and crawlspace vents are properly screened.
- Consult a handyman for help sealing hidden openings in walls and voids.
Blocking all possible entryways forces crickets to look elsewhere for shelter to call home.
Active Cricket Removal Methods
Once food, water, and shelter have been eliminated as much as possible, active removal tactics will clear out remaining crickets. Combining several methods is most effective for complete control.
Use Light Traps
Crickets are naturally drawn to light sources at night when they are most active. Light traps lure them into a soapy water-filled basin or bucket. The crickets fall in and drown.
To maximize success, follow these steps:
- Place battery-powered LED lamps or fluorescent tube lights on the floor near infested areas at dusk.
- Put large, shallow containers like roasting pans filled with soapy water directly underneath lights.
- Turn off other lights to make the traps more attractive.
- Check traps in the morning, empty drowned crickets, and refill with fresh soapy water.
- Reposition traps periodically to cover all infested areas.
- Use multiple light traps together to catch more crickets.
Light traps alone will not control heavy populations but provide supplemental nighttime control.
Use Cricket Traps
There are various pre-packaged cricket traps available that lure crickets in with irresistible attractants.
- Adhesive traps use sticky glue to immobilize wandering crickets.
- Humid traps contain a moistened sponge or pad crickets seek out for hydration.
- Yeast traps use fermenting yeast’s odor to draw in hungry crickets.
- Light traps utilize lights and soapy water, as already described.
- Funnel traps guide crickets into a holding container they cannot escape from.
Place traps along baseboards, in corners, and near known cricket hangouts. Follow manufacturer instructions on trap maintenance. Rotate traps to cover all areas over time. Traps work best before major outbreaks occur.
Apply Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is an abrasive dust that damages the waxy coating on cricket’s bodies, causing fatal dehydration. DE is non-toxic and safe for humans. Follow tips for effective use:
- Purchase food-grade DE, not pool grade.
- Wear a mask and gloves while applying to avoid inhaling dust.
- Use a hand duster to apply a fine layer of DE along baseboards, under appliances, on windowsills, and other cricket travel paths.
- Reapply if cleaned up or gets wet. DE stops working when wet.
- Leave in place for 2-3 weeks until cricket activity ceases.
- Once crickets are gone, vacuum up residual DE thoroughly.
The microscopic sharp edges slice away crickets’ protective outer coating. Repeated exposure while walking across treated areas proves lethal.
Use Dry Ice Bait
Dry ice gives off heavy carbon dioxide vapor that mimics cricket mating and feeding signals. Luring crickets with these innate cues draws them out of hiding spots and into the open. Here is the dry ice baiting process:
- Obtain a block of dry ice from a grocery store, fish supplier, or beverage company.
- Wrap the ice in paper or a towel to slow sublimation.
- Place it on a baking sheet or paper plate in infested areas overnight.
- The cold CO2 vapors will pull crickets from their harborage.
- Discard any crickets that gather by the dry ice in the morning.
- Repeat daily until cricket activity stops.
The extreme cold of dry ice can also freeze and kill crickets directly on contact. Exercise caution when handling dry ice using insulated gloves.
Insecticide Dusts and Sprays
When non-toxic methods alone fail to eliminate severe cricket outbreaks, insecticide dusts and sprays may be needed.
- Products like deltamethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, fipronil, or carbaryl are registered for indoor cricket control.
- Follow label directions carefully for allowed locations and application methods. Never use outdoor products indoors.
- Apply a very light dusting along baseboards, cracks, and sheltered areas. Repeat monthly if needed.
- Spot treat areas where crickets are seen frequently.
- Do not use sprays or dusts directly on exposed surfaces or food items.
- Open windows and ventilate the area during and after application.
- Keep children and pets away from treated areas until surfaces are dry.
Insecticides should be a last resort and only used with extreme care to avoid toxicity risks.
Prevent Future Cricket Recurrences
Crickets often attempt to re-enter homes every fall in search of warm shelter. Stopping invasions before they start is the best long-term solution.
- Perform an inspection each spring to identify potential entry points. Use caulk and sealants to close them up.
- Install tight-fitting door sweeps and window screens.
- Keep exterior foliage trimmed away from structure.
- Ensure crawlspaces and attics have proper sealing and ventilation.
- Fix moisture issues that allow breeding.
- Continue sanitation and trap maintenance measures through fall.
Early intervention prevents cricket populations from ever gaining a foothold in your home year after year. Contact a pest control professional for advice if issues persist despite your best efforts. With diligence and patience, you can reclaim a cricket-free home using eco-friendly methods.
Frequently Asked Questions
What time of year do crickets come indoors?
Crickets begin moving inside homes in early fall as outdoor temperatures drop, usually September and October. Infestations peak in October and November then decline through winter.
How long does it take to fully get rid of a cricket infestation?
With consistent trapping, insecticides, and sealing up entry points, crickets can be controlled within 7-14 days. Fully eliminating a major established infestation may take 4-6 weeks. Prevention before they invade is more effective.
Do crickets come back after you get rid of them?
Crickets may attempt to re-enter the home every fall through overlooked gaps. Perform an annual inspection each spring to seal up entryways. Ongoing desiccants and trapping provides protection.
Are home remedies like garlic, vinegar, or ultrasonic devices effective?
No, there is no scientific proof these home remedies repel or eliminate crickets despite anecdotal claims. Stick with physical removal methods proven to get results.
When is it necessary to call a pest control company for crickets?
If DIY methods have not resolved the infestation after 3-4 weeks, contact a licensed exterminator. They have access to stronger insecticides and fumigation techniques that may be needed for severe outbreaks.