Are Camel Crickets Dangerous? Uncovering the Truth

Camel crickets, also known as cave crickets, belong to a large group of insects found throughout the world. Over 100 different kinds are native to the United States and Canada. But are camel crickets dangerous? We investigate this question in the article below.

These crickets do not chirp, as they lack sound-producing organs, making them silent invaders of your home.

They are typically found in moist areas outdoors like under stones, logs, or within overgrown vegetation, providing them with excellent hiding places.

It’s common to wonder if camel crickets are dangerous, given their appearance and ability to infiltrate homes. The good news is that camel crickets don’t pose a serious threat to humans or pets.

They don’t bite or carry diseases, but they can still be a nuisance when they enter your home, especially in late summer and fall.

Are Camel Crickets Dangerous
A Camel Cricket

Understanding Camel Crickets

Appearance and Characteristics

Camel crickets, belonging to the family Rhaphidophoridae, have a distinct and unique appearance. These crickets are known for their humpbacked shape, which gives them their name.

They come in a variety of colors, ranging from light to dark brown. Some key features of camel crickets include:

  • Long antennae
  • Large hind legs
  • No wings
  • Size: 0.511-1.3 inches (13-33 mm) long

Comparing camel crickets to other common crickets, we can see some clear differences:

FeatureCamel CricketsOther Crickets
WingsAbsentPresent
ShapeHumpbackedFlatter
AntennaeExtremely longModerate length
LegsVery large hind legsSmaller legs

Habitat and Distribution

Camel crickets can be found across North America, including Canada. They thrive in moist environments such as under logs, and stones, and in overgrown vegetation like ivy. Some typical habitats you might find camel crickets in include:

  • Caves
  • Basements
  • Cellars

Because they prefer dark and damp locations, camel crickets might accidentally enter homes, particularly during late summer and fall.

Are Camel Crickets Dangerous?

Bites and Health Threats

  • Bites: Camel crickets are generally harmless and do not bite humans. However, they can be a nuisance when they accidentally enter homes, especially during the late summer and fall months.

  • Health Threats: Though not considered dangerous, camel crickets are not known to carry diseases or be poisonous.

Damage to Homes and Property

  • Wood and Fabrics: Camel crickets can cause damage to your home and belongings. They are known to feed on wood, fabric, and clothing.

  • Infestation: In rare cases, infestations can occur, causing damage to property and becoming a nuisance.

Comparison of Camel Crickets with Other Common Crickets

FeatureCamel CricketsCommon House Crickets
BitesNot known to biteMay bite occasionally
Health ThreatsNone knownNone known
Damage to HomesWood, Fabric, etc.Minimal

Behavior and Diet

Nocturnal Activities

Camel crickets are dark brown insects that exhibit nocturnal behavior. They are:

  • Active at night
  • Attracted to dark, damp environments

In contrast to other cricket species, camel crickets do not produce sound.

Food Preferences

Camel crickets have a varied diet that consists of:

  • Organic matter
  • Plants
  • Fungi
  • Other insects
  • Water for hydration

Although they are not considered dangerous, their food preferences can lead them to consume household fabrics, wood, and other items.

However, they mostly feed on dead plants, living and dead insects, and fungi when outdoors.

Comparison between Camel Crickets and Common Crickets

FeaturesCamel CricketsCommon Crickets
AppearanceDark brown, humpbackedReddish-brown or black
Sound ProductionNo soundChirps loudly
ActivityPrimarily nocturnalPrimarily nocturnal
Food PreferencesOrganic matter, plants, fungi, water, other insectsPlants, decaying organic matter, and insects

In summary, camel crickets have distinct nocturnal behaviors, and their diet mainly consists of organic matter, plants, fungi, water, and other insects. While not dangerous, they might consume household items on occasion.

Camel Crickets Infestation

Common Hotspots

Camel crickets are attracted to:

  • Cool, dark, and moist areas
  • Basements
  • Garages
  • Crawl spaces
  • Utility rooms
  • Under logs
  • Wells and caves

These nocturnal insects often invade buildings and homes, especially in areas with high moisture and low light. They can also be found outdoors in tall grass, weeds, stones, woodpiles, and near debris.

Preventing and Controlling Infestations

To prevent camel cricket infestations:

  • Seal holes in the ground
  • Remove debris and clutter
  • Ventilate damp areas
  • Use a dehumidifier
  • Keep firewood away from the home
  • Maintain the landscape (trim tall grass, remove weeds)

Indoor methods:

  • Vacuum cleaner (remove eggs, nymphs, and adults)
  • Sticky traps (capture crickets without chemicals)
  • Pest control professional (for severe infestations)

Outdoor methods:

  • Remove hiding spots (woodpiles, stones, cardboard)
  • Clear away tall grass and weeds
  • Trim back overgrown vegetation

Comparison table:

Indoor MethodsOutdoor Methods
Vacuum cleanerRemove hiding spots
Sticky trapsClear away tall grass and weeds
Pest control professionalTrim back overgrown vegetation

It’s important to remember that camel crickets, also known as “sprickets,” may resemble spiders but are not dangerous.

They can, however, become a nuisance due to their jumping behavior and infesting homes.

By following the above prevention and control methods, you can minimize the chances of an infestation and keep your living spaces camel cricket-free.

Identification and Comparison

Camel Crickets vs. Other Crickets

Camel crickets, also known as cave crickets, have a slightly humpbacked appearance, giving them their name. They have long antennae and large hind legs, with no wings as adults.

Other common crickets such as field and house crickets have a flatter body and wings, which they use for chirping. Here are some key differences between camel crickets and other crickets:

  • Chirping: Camel crickets do not chirp, while field and house crickets do.
  • Color: Camel crickets are generally tan, reddish-brown, or dark brown, while other crickets can vary in color.
  • Habitat: Camel crickets prefer dark, damp environments like caves and basements, while other crickets prefer outdoor grassy areas.

Camel Crickets vs. Spiders

Although camel crickets have long legs that give them a spider-like appearance, they are definitely not spiders. Here’s a comparison of camel crickets and spiders:

FeaturesCamel CricketsSpiders
Number of legs68
Body segments3 (head, thorax, abdomen)2 (cephalothorax, abdomen)
ChirpingNoN/A
Web-spinningNoYes (most species)
DietScavengers, feed on various organicPredators, feed on insects
 materials 

In summary, camel crickets might resemble spiders due to their long legs, but they are different in many ways.

Understanding the differences between camel crickets and other crickets, as well as spiders, helps in identifying and managing any potential concerns in your home or garden.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the camel crickets, often found in our homes and gardens are often misunderstood to be harmful.

Yes, their humpbacked appearance and silent infiltration might look scary, but camel crickets do not pose a significant danger to humans or pets.

They are harmless creatures, but they can be a nuisance when they reach indoors. They can damage fabrics and wood. However, you don’t need to take drastic measures to eliminate them.

Once you understand their habits and natural prevention methods, you can coexist peacefully with these insects.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about camel crickets. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Camel Cricket

This is a large one…
These are all in my shed. I live in Wanaque, NJ. They are HUGE and UGLY. What are they? Crickets?? I hope you can figure this one out. I’ve never encountered them until about 2 years ago. Hope you can tell what this is. Thanks!!!
Jolanta

Hi Jolanta,
We haven’t posted any recent images of Camel Crickets, but there have been several recent questions. Thankfully you have supplied a new and interesting photo. Camel Crickets are like damp dark places and are often encountered in basements.

Letter 2 – Camel Cricket

Subject: Long antennas
Location: Central NJ USA
July 6, 2015, 7:19 pm
Can you identify it? Found inside the kitchen. Long curling fine antennas. Four striped legs and a little smashed. Beelike body without wings – found on the floor when a lower cabinet was opened – cabinet or toe kick area – not sure which.
Signature: Freaked Out

Camel Cricket
Camel Cricket

Dear Freaked Out,
This Camel Cricket is more of a nuisance than it is a problem.  They are generally found in damp, dark places, like basements.  They will not harm you.  What appears to be a stinger is actually an ovipositor, an organ used by the female to lay eggs.

Letter 3 – Camel Cricket

Subject: Weird spider grasshopper-looking bug
Location: Indianapolis
October 24, 2015 10:55 am
I’ve grown up in central Indiana and I was an outdoor kid, unlike the kids these days. I had a woods and pond and creeks near which I was at morning to night pretty much my whole childhood.

I’ve turned over many logs and debris laying around and have seen all types of insects. I am 39 years old now and do all sorts of home maintenance and never encountered this type of insect.

I opened a door leading to a storm shelter under this house to find the fuse box for the main electricity and several of these things were just hanging around on the walls.

At first glance, I thought it was a huge spider but once I got closer and inspected this odd-looking bug I was totally baffled as to what this is and where they come from and whether are they poisonous.

Please help if possible.
Signature: Creeped out from Indy

Camel Cricket
Camel Cricket

Dear Creeped out from Indy,
Camel Crickets are harmless, though they can be a nuisance as they prefer damp, dark places like basements.  They are also called Cave Crickets.

Letter 4 – Camel Cricket

Subject: What bug is this?
Location: Washington DC
November 30, 2015, 6:41 pm
Found this guy relaxing in my apartment during late November in Washington DC
Signature: Guy who might burn his apartment to the ground

Camel Cricket
Camel Cricket

Dear Guy,
You do not need to burn your apartment to the ground.  This is a Camel Cricket and they are frequently found in damp, dark places like basements and crawl spaces. 

More light and a dehumidifier will keep them from establishing in your apartment, though if your apartment is a basement apartment, control may be more difficult.

Letter 5 – Camel Cricket

Subject: Weird-looking bug!
Location: Oklahoma
January 6, 2016, 9:11 pm
I saw this bug in my kitchen and am not sure what it is. Hopefully, you can help me out in identifying it!
Signature: Thank you. -Alexis

Camel Cricket
Camel Cricket

Dear Alexis,
Camel Crickets are generally found in dark, damp places like basements, crawl spaces, and under sinks.

Letter 6 – Camel Cricket

Subject: Hey
Location: Nc
April 25, 2016, 8:28 pm
I was outside and I found this wired bug and was wondering if you could tell me what it is that would be cool thanks Mr bug Man πŸ™‚
Signature: Chris

Camel Cricket
Camel Cricket

Hey Chris,
This is a Camel Cricket.  They are fond of dark, damp recesses, and they are frequently found in basements.  According to BugGuide

“Most are omnivorous and will feed on most anything organic. Many (if not most) will catch and eat other smaller animals when they can. In houses may chew on paper products, occasionally fabric.”

Letter 7 – Camel Cricket

Subject:  Can you identify this insect?
The geographic location of the bug:  Indianapolis Indiana
Date: 11/09/2017
Time: 02:10 AM EDT
Need help
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks

Camel Cricket

This is a Camel Cricket in the family Rhaphidophoridae.  They are frequently found in dark, damp basements where they will feed on a large variety of materials.  According to BugGuide

“Most are omnivorous and will feed on most anything organic. Many (if not most) will catch and eat other smaller animals when they can. In houses may chew on paper products, occasionally fabric.”

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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