Camel crickets, also known as cave crickets, possess a slightly humpbacked appearance and long, spider-like legs.
They are commonly found in cool, damp, and dark areas both indoors and outdoors, often taking up residence in basements of homes and buildings.
Attracted to their preferred habitat conditions, camel crickets are considered accidental invaders rather than aggressive pests.
Despite their somewhat intimidating appearance, camel crickets do not pose a threat to humans.
Unlike other cricket species, these creatures lack sound-producing organs and do not chirp.
According to research from North Carolina State University, camel crickets do not bite humans, making them harmless household invaders.
Understanding Camel Crickets
Appearance and Identification
They have long legs, giving them a spider-like appearance, and are wingless. Typically, these insects are found in shades of tan, reddish-brown, or dark brown.
Size and Habitat
Camel crickets generally have a body size between 0.5 to 1 inch.
Keep in mind that these measurements do not include their long legs and antennae.
As their alternative name, cave crickets, suggests, they are commonly found in caves, basements, cellars, and similar places.
These insects need a moist environment, which is why they often invade homes during hot, dry summers in search of moisture.
Information on camel cricket’s exact lifespan is scarce.
However, crickets, in general, belonging to the order Orthoptera, tend to have a lifespan ranging from a few weeks to several months, depending on factors like species and environmental conditions.
Camel Cricket Behavior
Camel crickets have impressive jumping abilities due to their long legs. They can:
- Jump high and far
- Quickly escape from threats
Their legs bear resemblance to spiders in shape and agility.
These crickets are largely active at night. Some common behaviors include:
- Foraging for food
Their antennae help navigate their surroundings in darkness.
Diet and Feeding Habits
Camel crickets are omnivores with a diverse diet. They consume:
- Plant debris
In some cases, they eat other camel crickets or even mice.
Camel crickets have a relatively short lifespan, with males living even shorter lives. Here’s a comparison of male and female crickets:
Male camel crickets die soon after mating, while females lay numerous eggs in damp, dark spots.
These creatures are not known to make noise, unlike many other cricket species.
Their lack of wings also means they cannot produce the traditional cricket chirping sound.
While not considered extremely destructive, their feeding habits may lead to minor damage to plants and other household items.
Do Camel Crickets Bite?
Are They Dangerous?
Camel crickets do not bite. They are generally considered harmless to humans.
They don’t have a history of being aggressive and don’t possess venom as some other insects do.
Their Fangs and Potential Damage
Although they have mouthparts that resemble fangs, camel crickets use these structures to chew their food, not to bite humans or animals.
Consequently, any potential damage to humans is practically nonexistent.
While having camel crickets in your home may be unsettling, they shouldn’t be a cause for concern in terms of danger or harm to humans.
Rest assured, these peculiar-looking insects are more interested in seeking out food and a suitable habitat than causing any damage or harm.
Preventing and Controlling Camel Cricket Infestations
Sealing Entry Points
Camel crickets may enter your home through cracks or openings around doors, windows, and floors. To prevent this, take some measures:
- Seal gaps around doors and windows
- Repair damaged screens
- Fill cracks in walls and foundation
This may not only help with camel crickets but also other household pests.
Reducing Moisture and Humidity
Camel crickets thrive in moist and humid environments, such as basements and greenhouses. Reducing moisture can make your home less attractive to them:
- Use a dehumidifier to lower humidity
- Fix leaks and improve ventilation
- Store firewood and leaf litter away from the house
Doing this can prevent infestations of camel crickets and other pests attracted to moisture.
Natural Repellent Methods
Some available natural remedies can repel camel crickets, such as:
- Cedar pouches: Place them in areas where crickets are seen
- Essential oils: Dilute citronella or tea tree oil and spray around the infested area
These methods are typically pet-friendly and non-toxic.
Traps and Extermination
If camel crickets are already an issue, consider using traps or calling a professional exterminator. Some options are:
- Sticky traps: Place them in corners or near cricket habitats
- Diatomaceous earth: Sprinkle it in infested areas to help kill crickets
- Exterminator: If the infestation persists, contact a pest control professional
When dealing with camel cricket infestations, consider each option based on your needs and preferences.
In conclusion, camel crickets, characterized by their humpbacked appearance and long legs, are harmless inhabitants of damp, dark environments.
Despite their intimidating appearance and impressive jumping abilities, they pose no threat to humans, as they neither bite nor chirp.
Understanding their behavior, diet, and habitat preferences is key to managing any unintended infestations.
Employing preventive measures such as sealing entry points and controlling humidity, along with natural repellents and traps, can effectively keep these intriguing creatures at bay.
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – Camel Cricket
Subject: Super cricket?
Location: Russian River, Northern California
November 5, 2012 2:52 am
Curious as to what type of insect this is;
Body is 1.5 inches, with legs outstretched 4-5 inches. Like a cricket, but lives in a subterranean water well, many of them. Seem to be nocturnal.
Any ideas? Thanks.
This is a Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket in the family Rhaphidophoridae. As your letter supports, they are fond of damp and dark places like basements, caves, and apparently, wells.
Great! Now that we know they don’t bite the kids can saddle up and ride them around the yard! Just kidding…
Thanks very much,
Letter 2 – Camel Cricket
what kind of bug is this?
Could you please tell me what kind of bug this is. I found this one in my garage and I never seen one like this ever in my life .Please let me know.
This is a Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket. They are often found in damp, dark basements and similar habitats.
Letter 3 – Camel Cricket
not an ordinary cricket…
Location: South eastern Pennsylvania
November 27, 2011 1:58 pm
They jump. FAR. They like the basement. It’s bigger than a quarter and I’m hoping upon hopes that they eat big black spiders (which we also have… EWE!) and that they don’t eat humans.
Any idea what it is? I’ve looked through your site but I’m only getting more skeeved out. Sorry… bugs scare me!
Your cricket is known as a Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket and it is in the family Rhaphidophoridae which is well represented on BugGuide. Camel Crickets are frequently found in large numbers in damp basements.
Thank you so much for your quick and kind response. Since I don’t want large numbers of any insect in my home I’m in a bit of a quandry…we do have big ugly spiders too – I wonder if they’ll take care of our problem. We’ve only seen 4-6 of these guys over the past few weeks. Thanks again!
Letter 4 – Camel Cricket
Location: Silver Spring, MD
December 15, 2011 1:13 pm
Opened the shed in late November in suburban MD, and saw this just hanging out, waving its antennae at me. I didn’t get too close with the camera for fear of scaring it into jumping at me. What could this possibly be?
Signature: R in DC
Belay that WTB!
Location: Silver Spring, MD
December 15, 2011 1:21 pm
I just looked a bit more on your site, and found my answer – sorry to take up more of your time. Though maybe you liked my picture.
Signature: R in DC
Dear R in DC,
We are happy to learn that it only took you eight minutes to identify your Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket, if that is actually the identification you discovered. We have gotten numerous requests to identify Camel Crickets in the past few week. Perhaps their populations are on the rise or perhaps winter is just the best season for encounters.
Letter 5 – Camel Cricket
Spider like bug
Location: Hampton, VA
December 21, 2011 11:29 am
Hey WTB! I love you guys! I always go to your site to find out what bugs I find crawling around my house! Especially since I’m military and move a lot.
Well I just moved to Virginia and I found this bug that I’ve seen about 3 times around the outside of the house.
I’ve never seen anything like it before. I thought it was a type of spider at first but it has features of a cricket as well. When I went to push it outside of my porch it jumped too like a cricket. I tried to take a couple pictures but since we just moved all I had on me was my phone so sorry for the bad pictures.
Hope you can figure it out. I have a small dog and a 3 year old daughter so I wanna make sure this thing isn’t poisonous or bites. Thanks again!
Signature: David Ivey
Many of our identification requests come from members of the military who are serving in foreign lands. This is a Camel Cricket (so named because of the humped back) or Cave Cricket (a name referring to preferred habitat) in the family Rhaphidophoridae.
They are often found in damp, dark places like basements. We have gotten numerous identification requests for Camel Crickets from the eastern United States in the past two months, leading us to believe that populations may be on the increase. BugGuide provides this bit of information: “Feed on leaf debris. In houses may chew on paper products, occasionally fabric.”
BugGuide also has this advice: “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 – Camel Cricket
Subject: Camel Cricket
Location: Athens, GA
October 6, 2012 8:24 pm
Thanks to your site, I can say I learned something today! This showed up in my house today, so I got some photos and looked up crickets. Camel cricket, yep! Thanks! This guy or gal was photographed after catching with a glass, and was summarily ejected from the house afterwards. 🙂
Signature: Heather L
Camel Crickets are also known as Cave Crickets. They are often found in damp, dark basements. The swordlike ovipositor indicates that your individual is a female.