Camel crickets are intriguing insects known for their unique appearance and behavior.
These fascinating creatures get their name from their slightly humped backs and long legs, which give them a spider-like appearance.
Interestingly, unlike other cricket species, camel crickets are wingless and do not produce sounds.
These crickets can be found in various habitats, including humid and concealed areas like caves, basements, and cellars.
Generally active at night, camel crickets have a long antenna and large hind legs that allow them to jump strongly.
Camel crickets come in a range of colors, such as tan, reddish-brown, or dark brown.
Camel Cricket Basics
Identification and Appearance
Camel crickets get their name from their slightly humpbacked appearance. Key characteristics include:
- Long legs, giving them a spider-like appearance
- No wings as adults
- Brownish, reddish brown, or dark brown color
- Large hind legs
- Long, fragile antennae
Due to their physical features, camel crickets are also referred to as spider crickets. They can grow up to 1 ½ inches in length.
Habitat and Range
Camel crickets typically live in:
- Humid, concealed areas
- Caves, basements, and cellars
- Tall grass and other moist environments
These insects are active mostly at night and can be found worldwide.
Camel crickets often become a problem during extremes in weather conditions, such as excessive rainfall or extended periods of hot, dry weather, driving them to invade homes.
In the United States and Canada, over 100 different kinds of camel crickets can be found.
Camel crickets undergo a simple metamorphosis during their lifecycle. Stages include:
- Nymph (looks like a smaller version of the adult)
Throughout their life, camel crickets can pose a nuisance as pests due to their tendency to invade homes and outdoor structures.
However, they do not bite or pose any health risks to humans.
Diet and Behavior
Food Sources and Diet
Camel crickets are known for their diverse diet, feeding on a variety of organic materials. Some examples of their food sources include:
- Plant materials
- Animal products
These crickets are also known to eat other insects and even their own kind when food is scarce.
Camel crickets are primarily nocturnal creatures, meaning they are more active at night.
This is when they venture out to search for food and mates. During the day, camel crickets prefer to stay hidden in dark, damp areas such as:
- Crawl spaces
Chirping and Sounds
Interestingly, camel crickets do not chirp like many other cricket species.
They lack sound-producing organs, so their nighttime activities remain silent, allowing them to go unnoticed while foraging or searching for mates.
|Aspect||Camel Cricket||Other Crickets|
|Diet||Diverse (fungus, plant and animal products)||Typically plant-based|
|Activity Time||Nocturnal (active at night)||Primarily nocturnal|
|Habitat||Dark, damp areas (crawl spaces, basements, caves)||Various (grass, soil, indoors)|
|Chirping/Sounds||None (no sound organs)||Chirping noises|
Camel Crickets as Pests
Damage to Home and Property
Camel crickets are attracted to dark, moist environments like basements, garages, and laundry rooms.
They can potentially cause damage to household items like clothes, curtains, and paperwork by chewing on them.
Furthermore, they may also feed on plants, including houseplants, and organic materials like mulch.
Specifically, camel crickets can damage garments and linens packed in boxes in a garage or basement, especially if the infestation goes unchecked for some time.
When dealing with camel crickets, it is essential to spot the signs of a potential infestation. Some clues include:
- Large numbers of camel crickets inside or near your home
- Eggs or small cricket nymphs in moist environments
- Chewed plants or fabrics
- Presence in basements, laundry rooms, or utility rooms
- Presence of dark fecal smears on surfaces.
Though camel crickets resemble spiders with their long legs and dark brown color, they are harmless and do not bite or transmit diseases.
To manage a camel cricket infestation, consider the following methods:
- Reduce moisture in affected areas (e.g., using a dehumidifier or fixing leaks)
- Seal up cracks and crevices in your home
- Remove potential hiding spots (e.g., piles of wood or debris)
- Use appropriate pest control methods (e.g., sticky traps or consult a professional)
Prevention and Control
Home Maintenance Tips
- Maintain a dry environment by using a dehumidifier, fans, or natural ventilation.
- Seal gaps and cracks in the foundation to limit entry points.
- Regularly clean moisture-prone areas like basements and crawl spaces.
- Remove potential hiding spots such as weeds, tall grass, and wood piles near the home.
- Fix any water leaks, as dampness attracts camel crickets.
- Keep ground cover and mulch away from the foundation
- Avoid stacking firewood against the house
- Remove clutter under decks that might attract crickets.
Traps and Remedies
- Place sticky traps in areas where camel crickets are spotted; effective for reducing small populations.
- Create a simple homemade trap by filling a shallow dish with soapy water and placing it near cricket activity.
- Additional control methods include sealing gaps and openings, using sticky boards, applying outdoor barrier treatments, and placing insecticidal baits in specific locations.
When to Call Professionals
- Consider professional help if home remedies and maintenance fail to control the population.
- Consult experts in case camel crickets pose a threat to valuable items or cause damage to plants and fabrics.
Comparison Table: Prevention Methods
|Home Maintenance||Long-term solution, reduces cricket habitats||May require considerable time and effort|
|Traps and Remedies||Quick results, budget-friendly||Best for small infestations, ongoing maintenance|
|Professional Help||Expert solutions, comprehensive control||Can be expensive, may involve chemicals|
Camel Cricket Species and Taxonomy
Camelophoridae crickets belong to the family Rhaphidophoridae. These crickets are known for their:
- Humpbacked appearance
- Long legs and antennae
- Lack of wings in adults
These unique characteristics give them a spider-like appearance while still being part of the order Orthoptera.
Camel crickets are typically brownish in color, and their sizes vary depending on the species.
Subfamilies and Genera
Within the Rhaphidophoridae family, there are multiple subfamilies and genera.
One common genus is Ceuthophilus, which includes several species often found in caves and basements.
Another notable species is the greenhouse camel cricket (Diestrammena asynamora), which is native to Asia but has become increasingly common in the United States.
One common nuisance species of camel crickets is Tachycines asynamorous, also known as the “greenhouse stone cricket”.
In conclusion, camel crickets, characterized by their humpbacked and wingless appearance, are intriguing nocturnal insects.
Found worldwide, they thrive in humid, concealed environments and exhibit a diverse diet.
While they don’t pose direct health risks, their presence can attract other potentially harmful creatures and cause damage to household items.
Effective management strategies include maintaining a dry environment, sealing entry points, using traps, and seeking professional help when necessary.
Understanding their behavior and implementing preventive measures can mitigate the challenges posed by these unique crickets.
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
camel/cave cricket photo
Hi there Bugman!
My husband and I are in the process of moving into a new home, which brings the joy of finding all kinds of new bugs! We’ve got Box Elder bugs hoping to move in for the winter, as well as forming aggregations on our mail box, trees, and just hanging out.
We’ve got what I believe are some kind of seed or leaf footed bug also hoping to move in for the winter. If I can find another one, I’ll send a photo in, I’m having trouble identifying the particular kind I’ve got (despite using your site and googling)
Anyway. I’ve always had a fondness for crickets, and really loved looking at the cricket section of WTB. Before we started moving in to our new house, we brought a friend by to see the place, and we found this little lady hanging out in what is about to be our library.
I just thought I’d pass on a photo, in case you felt like sharing it with your other readers! Love the site!
Thank you for your wonderful letter and great photo of a Camel Cricket. We get so many letters from people who are horrified when they find Camel Crickets in the basement.
I forgot to mention (probably because I didn’t need any identification help), that we live in Northern Alabama. The first time I saw this type of cricket, I did the same thing most people do, I accidentally mistook it for a spider, jumped, shreiked, and begged for someone to move it away.
I just want to add that it seems Alabama natives love this response out of newcomers. We’re transplants from Washington state, and I’d never seen a cave/camel cricket before. (I’m more familiar with Mormon crickets and house/field crickets)
I’ve seen so many sick smiles out of Alabamians when they see someone who’s meeting a cave cricket for the first time. And I have to admit, it’s starting to rub off on me. Just thought I’d share a little fun after the photo.
Letter 2 – Orthopteran reportedly found in Capri Sun
Subject: Help identify
Location: No clue where it originated possibly the packaging plant? Capri Sun roaring waters berry flavor
October 17, 2015 10:03 am
Just opened a Capri Sun water drink and found this as I poured it out. No clue whatsoever what it is. It has a long mandible, wings, three black appendages off the back and some sort of balls posturals on the belly or the thorax??
Signature: MaryAlice foust
Goodness, what a surprise you had. Did you consume the drink? We believe this is some species of Orthopteran, perhaps a female Tree Cricket.
Letter 3 – AKA: Female Camel Cricket
Female Cave Cricket?
I found this giant creature in my damp, dark cellar the other day. Unfortunately I didn’t realize what it was and happened to unload spectracide onto it. I thought it was a mutant. Is it a female cave cricket?
The Cave Cricket is also known as a Camel Cricket and the female has the long ovipositor protruding from the end of her abdomen.
Letter 4 – Camel Cricket
Camel Cricket/Cave Cricket?
I just wanted to shoot over a few pictures of a cave/camel cricket I found in my basement. Thank you for helping me ID this guy. Is it true that he eats spiders, ants, and roaches?
Camel Crickets are generally thought to be scavengers rather than predators, hence they would eat dead spiders, ants and roaches.
Letter 5 – Camel Cricket
What is this bug? Can You help It jumps?
Fri, Nov 7, 2008 at 8:38 PM
Can you please help me identify this bug. It jumps and first I saw them in my basement but now they seem to be showing up all over my house. They are brownish and they jump pretty high and are quick. Any idea what they are and where do they come from. I appreciate any help you can give me.
long island, new york
This is a Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket in the family Rhaphidophoridae. Unlike other crickets, they do not chirp because they don’t have wings. Here is what BugGuide has to say about them: “If these occur in a house the best treatment is to remove them and their breeding habitat – cool moist dark places such as piles of logs or boards in basements.
A clean dry home will not be a welcoming place for these guys. Although they are scary-looking they are basically harmless to humans, except perhaps for minor damage to stored items, and are easily discouraged by eliminating the dark damp habitat they prefer. “
Letter 6 – BUG OF THE MONTH JANUARY 2009 – CAMEL CRICKET
6 legged spider/grasshopper
Thu, Jan 1, 2009 at 8:38 AM
I walked into my basement one day and I found this creature on my wall. It looked like a spider had mated with a grasshopper and this odd bug was what came of it. This bug did not seem to be aggressive. It was January first and I live in Fairmont, WV.
The bug had long antennas, 6 legs, the two back ones looked like grasshopper legs and the 4 front one like spider legs. I believe I might have seen this creature before while in TN. What is this mysterious bug inhabiting my basement?
Though your photo is blurry and the camera angle is not ideal for identifying your Camel Cricket, it is the time of the month for us to select the Bug of the Month for the New Year. Camel Crickets are also known as Cave Crickets and they are in the family Rhaphidophoridae.
They frequent damp dark places. Basements are a perfect habitat for them. BugGuide indicates: “If these occur in a house the best treatment is to remove them and their breeding habitat – cool moist dark places such as piles of logs or boards in basements.
A clean dry home will not be a welcoming place for these guys. Although they are scary-looking they are basically harmless to humans, except perhaps for minor damage to stored items, and are easily discouraged by eliminating the dark damp habitat they prefer.”
Since your photo is not ideal for identification purposes, we will be including an older photo along with the Bug of the Month for January 2009 posting.
Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 11:59 PM
We have ‘smooshed’ a couple of these at my house recently. I can’t recall ever seeing them before. they can jump grasshoppers, perhaps even better than the grass hoppers we see around here.
The fact that it’s an insect is obvious. What’s less obvious is when shrimp made the transition to land. ;D It’s a rather dejected looking bug don’t you think?
So, whats that bug?
+1 dollar to the site if you can help me out.
KILL IT WITH FIRE!
North Carolina, US
Dear KILL IT WITH FIRE,
Your insect is a Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket in the family Rhaphidophoridae. They are often found in basements and other dark, damp habitats. According to BugGuide: “Feed on leaf debris. In houses may chew on paper products, occasionally fabric.
Letter 7 – Bug of the Month December 2017: Camel Cricket
Geographic location of the bug: LaGrange Park
Time: 10:17 AM EDT
Is this a spider? Does it bite? I found it inside my house, in the bedroom.
How you want your letter signed: Curious
This is a Camel Cricket, a harmless creature that is often found in dark, damp places like basements. Though it was our Bug of the Month back in 2009, we felt it was time for that honor again.
Letter 8 – Hebard’s Trig
Subject: What big eyebrows you have, my dear!
Location: Andover, NJ
October 6, 2016 5:56 am
I found this very tiny (1/3-1/2 inch) cricket (I think) resting on the leaf of some goldenrod late yesterday afternoon. What struck me about it was the extreme length of its antennae – easily 5 or more times the length of the body.
I’ve checked my field guides and can’d find anything that looks quite like this, so wondering if maybe its the nymph form of a cricket/katydid?
Photo was taken yesterday afternoon right at the edge of our woods (hickory/oak/maple/hardwoods).
Signature: Deborah Bifulco
After carefully searching BugGuide, we believe we have identified this Ensiferan as a female Hebard’s Trig, Falcicula hebardi, and according to BugGuide, the habitat is: “‘…restricted to colonies among the wire-grass of the pine woods…’ (Rehn and Hebard 1905).”
You should submit your image to BugGuide as well because the bristles on the head and thorax are quite evident in your image, a characteristic that is also evident on this BugGuide image.
Letter 9 – Identifications needed for high school project
September 10, 2011 3:28 pm
I am trying to complete a highschool taxonomy project and I need help finding the common names of these bugs.
In some pictures there are several bugs, please identify them all. If you see the same species twice, please let me know. I have some more posts with more pics comming up. Thanks.
September 10, 2011 3:30 pm
I did not mention this in my last post, but my teacher recomende this site find identification.
We believe that when your teacher recommended our website, it was not so that you would send your pictures to have our small staff do your homework for you. We believe we were recommended as a resource that you could use to self identify the insects in your collection.
Ed. Note: Calac64 sent a total of 4 emails with a total of 12 images requesting identifications. There is no indication that Calac64 even attempted any identifications by providing a possible name for one of the insects. If any of our readers would like to identify the insects in the photos, please feel free to post comments.
Thank you for that notification, I agree with your reasoning, but I did not mean to convey my request as you doing my homework. My teacher just wanted us to identify the insects after we find them, and I did not think that she would mind me requesting help.
I apologize if I have conveyed my request in that fasion. If you wish to, you can just not identify the insects, I don’t mind, plus I have already identified most of them.
Thank you for responding and clarifying your requests. If you would like verification on any of your identifications, we will try our best to assist.
Letter 10 – Mysterious Legless Insect found on Table in Texas is Male Trig
Subject: Found dead on kitchen table
Location: Brazoria county tx
December 6, 2016 3:29 am
Found south of Houston tx in brazoria county in someone’s house already dead. First week of December. Even has hairs on its head. Has wings. It’s really creepy looking. No idea what happened to the legs either. Was found like that on a kitchen table dead. No animals live in the house.
Generally legless insects found in a home have been serving as “cat toys” prior to their death, so we can’t explain why this legless insect was found on the table. Because of what appears to be an ovipositor, we believe this is most likely a Cricket or other Orthopteran, but the eyes remind us of a Jewel Beetle in the family Buprestidae.
We are going to guess that this is a Cricket with all its extremities removed, and we suspect it might have looked like this female Carolina Ground Cricket on BugGuide prior to mutilation. We have contacted Eric Eaton for verification.
Eric Eaton provides identification: Male Trig
It is an adult male “trig” of some sort, or maybe even a ground cricket. Here’s where I’d start:
So, yes, an orthopteran.
Hope you are having a lovely holiday season so far!