Crickets are brown or yellow insects that grow up to an inch in length, with large, bent back legs. Commonly called house crickets, these pests like to nest indoors, especially in the winter. Crickets hide in dark, warm, and humid spots until nighttime when they come out to feed. While they don't carry diseases, crickets can damage property. If you suspect you have these uninvited houseguests, it's crucial to take action as soon as possible.
Crickets love the smell of molasses and can't resist coming out to snack. This DIY method works best if you use a bowl shallow enough that the bugs can jump in. Fill it a quarter way with a mixture of molasses and water. Once the bugs jump in, they won't be able to get back out. Empty the bowl often and repeat until all the crickets have gone.
You can purchase chemical bait, which works similar to molasses, except it's poisonous and kills the crickets on contact. This method is dangerous in homes with kids or pets, so make sure they don't go near the poison. Most baits are granules, though some are sprays or powders.
Once you identify where the crickets are hiding, you can catch them using sticky traps. Buy pre-made traps at any home and garden store or make your own. To make a sticky trap, use butter paper and wax, which is sweet enough to attract the crickets. When the traps are mostly covered, throw them out, and replace them with new sheets.
Depending on the severity of the infestation, vacuuming can be an effective treatment for crickets — just make sure to empty the bag and kill or release the crickets afterwards, or they might come back. If you spot cricket eggs, sucking them up with a vacuum is a great option. Double-check the bag is secure inside the machine or, if your vacuum uses a cup, dump it out far from your house.
Because crickets enjoy moist places, the most effective way to get rid of them is to reduce moisture in your home. Using a dehumidifier can help dry up dampness. You should also make sure that crawl spaces and attics have plenty of ventilation. Running the bathroom and kitchen fans can also reduce built-up moisture in the walls.
Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring sand that effectively gets rid of crickets. It works by scratching the bugs' exoskeleton — the resulting cracks eventually dehydrate the bug. Diatomaceous earth is non-toxic and safe to use in homes with children and pets. The best way to use this product is by sprinkling it around the baseboards and wall crevices.
Crickets enter a home through cracks and crevices or tiny openings around windows or doors. Once you have gotten rid of any insects inside your home, be sure to seal off any openings where more bugs could get back inside. Inspect the foundation for small holes and seal around the baseboards.
Boric acid is composed of sodium borate salts, an effective pesticide. These products work wonders for controlling pests and are available at most lawn and garden stores. Boric acid is poisonous, and you should not use this method in homes with children and pets. If it is safe for you to use this method, though, the good news is that it will clear your home of most other crawling insects as well.
If you don't feel confident that you can control the cricket infestation yourself, call an exterminator. They can manage the problem professionally and safely. A pest control technician will work with you to create a treatment and prevention plan to ensure the bugs don't return. Many companies offer a free or low-cost assessment.
There are many pesticides available, including greener kinds. Aerosols and trigger sprays come ready-to-use, so you won't have to mix anything yourself. Hose-end sprays work wonders for bigger spaces, especially with natural plant oils. Be sure to follow the instructions — you may need to leave home for a few hours after treatment.