Introduction

Cave crickets, also known as camel crickets, get their common name(s) because they are commonly found in caves, as well as their humpbacked appearance. They are widespread in the United States and in the world, especially in North Jersey.

Recognition

Adults are about 1/2-1 1/4″ (12-33 mm) in body length with female’s ovipositor (egg laying structure) often exceeding half its body length. They are light to dark brown in color, often mottled with lighter or darker areas. The antenna is threadlike and much longer than body, with basal segments touching or nearly so. Cave crickets are also wingless. The hind femora is typically about as long as body, and the hind tibiae often longer. These crickets are without sound producing structures.

Nymphs are similar to adults, except they are smaller and lack an ovipositor (females).

Similar Groups

  • House and field crickets (Gryllidae): have wings, and a 3-segmented tarsi.
  • Mole crickets (Gryllotalpidae): have front legs, are broad and spadelike, and the antennae is much shorter than body length.
  • Jerusalem crickets (Stenopelmatidae): large and robust, hind femora do not extend beyond tip of abdomen.
  • Earwigs (order Dermaptera): with forcepslike cerci.
  • Cockroaches (order Blattodea): body is flattened, usually with wings,and a 5-segmented tarsi.

Representative Species

Most of the species entering homes belong in the genus Ceuthophilus, which are of medium size (5/8-1 1/8″ or 15-30 mm long). For example, in the Great Plains, from Canada to Texas, C. pallidus Thomas is often found indoors during the summer. In the northeast and midwest, C. maculatus (Harris) is commonly found in basements. Ranging from the south-central states to Idaho, C. utahensis Thomas invades basements.

The greenhouse stone cricket, Tachycines asynamorus Adelung, is very widespread and typically inhabits greenhouses but also basements.

Biology

Depending on the species, cave crickets may overwinter as young nymphs or adults. The females lay their eggs in the early spring and these hatch during April. Little is known about the biology of this group. In greenhouses, they breed year round.

Habits

Outdoors around buildings, they are typically found in cool, moist situations such as under mulch, stones, railroad ties, woodpiles, debris, etc. They are nocturnal or active at night and hide during the day. Other places they can be found around homes are in wells, drainage culverts/pipes, under A/C units or their concrete pads, sheds, etc. Indoors, they can become problems in damp basements, utility rooms, crawl spaces, garages, and occasionally in attics. They often invade structures when it becomes hot and dry outside.

Indoors, C. pallidus has been found eating holes in lace curtains, whereas C. maculatus has been observed feeding on clothes hung out on a washline. Ceuthophilus utahenis has been known to become so numerous in wells that their dead bodies polluted the water.

Cave Cricket Control

Cave cricket control begins outdoors with the reduction or elimination of moist harborage near the structure, such as removing woodpiles and debris. Crawl spaces should be well ventilated and dry, installation of a poly/vapor barrier and vents may help. Seal entry points such as door thresholds by installing doorsweeps, seal holes in masonry, etc.

Microencapsulated or wettable powder formulations are particularly effective in the moist conditions these crickets prefer. If they are extremely abundant in a crawl space or basement, then an ULV application may be justified but the dead bodies should probably be removed afterwards because of possible odor and future dermestid etc. problems they may promote.

Do You Need Professional Services?

If you act a little too late and find that there’s a cricket problem, you should get professional cricket removal services. PermaKill provides just what you need. Since 1984, they’ve been a go to name in extermination and pest control services for many New Jersey locations. For more information on their services, contact PermaKill Exterminating today!