Crickets in Mount Washington

Subject:  Crickets in Mount Washington
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
August 22, 2013
A couple of quick questions.
Growing up on Mt. Washington,  I was often lulled to sleep in the summer months by the hundreds of crickets in the open lot above our home.  When I purchased the family home in the early 90’s,  not only were the crickets absent, so were butterflies, bees, birds and damn near everything after the malathion spraying.
I occasionally hear some crickets in the evening, but not often.  I’d like to repopulate, but before I take any type of action, thought I would check in.  I can’t seem to find any real information on whether crickets are invasive,  pest like,  damaging to flora or any other real info.  I see that Mole crickets are a pest.
What are your thoughts?
Also saw an interesting insect this evening hovering around an outside light.  Very lacy, silver gray in color, perhaps 1 1/2 inches long, with a build very, very similar to a dragonfly.  Didn’t have a camera handy, but I will keep an eye open for it again.
Doug Nickel

Tree Cricket
Tree Cricket

Hi Doug,
The two “singing” insects we find in our Mount Washington garden with frequency are Tree Crickets and Katydids.  We would not release pet store crickets in your yard.  We were going to provide you with links to What’s That Bug?, but it appears there is technical difficulty right now.

Male Scudder's Bush Katydid
Male Scudder’s Bush Katydid

Update:  August 25, 2013
Well, we managed to create a post and provide some links.  We will check with Julian Donahue regarding other Crickets or musical insects in Mount Washington.

Julian Donahue responds
While Kathy and I enjoy hearing the tree crickets on warm evenings, I haven’t spent any time figuring out the other crickets I occasionally see–sometimes I see some that look like field crickets, but are more slender. And sometimes I find camel crickets drowned in the pool, but these are incapable of producing any sound.

Update:  September 29, 2013
Thanks for the note.  I alway appreciate your replies.  And am very glad to have such a knowledgeable Mt. Washington neighbor.
In all my years living in Mt. Washington 1963 til 1983 and 1992 to present, I don’t ever recall seeing a Tree Cricket.  I’ll keep my eyes open in the future.  In regard to the Bush Katydid,  unless they turn brown and have short antennae,  I’ve never seen any of those over here on Crane either.
However I have seen common house crickets and I am telling you prior to the Malathion disaster (may those public servants roast in hell) the entire 5 lots behind us sang every night with house crickets.
Do you think there might be various pockets around the hill.
Honestly, when I was a kid the hill behind us sang every night in the summer. On and off since we moved back, but not like in the 1960’s – 1970’s.
What’s your take?

Hi Doug,
Charles Hogue lists both the native black Field Cricket,
Gryllus species, and the brown European House Cricket, Acheta domesticus, as living in the Los Angeles area.  We haven’t really noticed either in Mount Washington, however the European House Cricket is the species sold in pet stores.  Were your childhood crickets black Field Crickets or Brown House Crickets?  As an aside, while living in Glassell Park in the early 1980s, we did have a Field Cricket take up residence in the drain of the bathroom sink.  It would “sing” whenever the water was turned on.  We were careful not to run the water too hot or too hard so that the cricket wouldn’t get scalded or washed away.  It lived in the bathroom for several weeks.  If there were Field Crickets in Glassell Park, we cannot imagine them not being found in adjacent Mount Washington.


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