Winter is a season when many people wonder about the fate of various insects, including camel crickets.
These peculiar-looking insects thrive in damp and dark environments, often found nestled under logs and stones outside 1 or even making their way into homes.
Camel crickets can survive the winter in various life stages, as either nymphs or adults.
While they may be less active during this time, they do not necessarily die off during the colder months.
This resiliency allows them to adapt and continue living in various environments, sometimes becoming a nuisance in certain situations.
Understanding Camel Crickets
Camel crickets, also known as cave crickets or spider crickets, have a few specific features that make them easy to identify:
- Hump-backed appearance
- Long, fragile antennae
- Large hind legs for jumping
- Wingless and usually tan, reddish-brown, or dark brown in color
- Size up to 1 ½ inches long
- No sound-producing organs, hence no chirping
Habitats and Breeding
Camel crickets prefer to live in moist, concealed areas such as caves, basements, and cellars.
They are typically found under stones, logs, or in overgrown vegetation like ivy.
The nocturnal nature of these crickets means that they are mainly active during the night.
The life cycle of camel crickets consists of males and females breeding and laying eggs.
The eggs then hatch into nymphs, which look almost identical to adult crickets. Camel crickets pass the winter as either nymphs or adults.
Do Camel Crickets Die in Winter? Winter Survival Methods
Camel crickets can survive the winter by employing different overwintering strategies. They may:
- Overwinter as nymphs (immatures) or adults
- Find moist areas to reside during colder months, such as:
- Crawl spaces
- Damp spots
- Holes in the ground
Ideal Indoor Conditions
When camel crickets find their way indoors during winter, they seek out particular living conditions to increase their survival prospects. They are attracted to:
- High humidity levels, typically found in:
- Damp basements
- Laundry rooms
- Utility rooms
- Areas with clutter, providing excellent hiding places like:
- Piles of wood and stone
Camel crickets’ body length ranges from 1/2 to 1-1/4 inches, which allows them to fit into small spaces.
Although they usually don’t pose significant health threats, they can cause structural damage to homes.
Signs of Camel Cricket Infestation
Indications in Homes and Gardens
Camel crickets, which may be found in damp areas, can infest homes and gardens by seeking refuge in moist environments like garages and bathrooms. Outdoor hiding places include:
- Tall grass
- Firewood stacks
In the garden, you may notice their presence within greenhouses, caves, and areas with dense vegetation like ivy.
They typically survive as nymphs or adult crickets during winter.
Although camel crickets are not known for causing massive destruction, they can be a nuisance pest and may create some damage.
Some signs of camel cricket infestation include:
- Fabrics: They may chew and damage fabrics, such as clothes, curtains, and upholstered furniture.
- Plant damage: In gardens, slight damage to plants can occur if crickets feed on organic matter.
- Jumpers: Camel crickets are known to jump, potentially scaring people when found indoors.
Keep in mind that camel crickets are mostly harmless.
The objective is to maintain cleanliness by eliminating their preferred damp environments, thus preventing an infestation.
How to Prevent and Manage Infestations
To prevent and manage camel cricket infestations without chemicals, here are some simple steps:
- Reduce humidity: Camel crickets thrive in moist environments, so keeping your home and yard well-ventilated can help deter them.
- Seal gaps: Use weather-stripping to seal any gaps around doors and windows which can prevent camel crickets from entering your home.
- Declutter: Eliminating clutter in basements and other hiding spots like piles of firewood, stones, and logs can help reduce potential habitats.
Some non-chemical methods for getting rid of camel cricket infestations include:
- Traps: Sticky traps are an effective way of catching and monitoring camel cricket populations.
- Vacuuming: Regularly vacuum your home, focusing on corners and dark spaces where crickets might hide.
- Barrier control: Diatomaceous earth or boric acid can be sprinkled around the perimeter of your home to deter cricket entry.
If non-chemical methods are not enough to control your cricket infestation, consider chemical controls:
- Insecticides: Choose insecticides specifically targeted to control cricket populations, such as those containing cedar oil, neem oil, or peppermint oil.
- Pesticides: Use appropriate pesticides to target cricket infestations in your yard.
|Humane, easy to use, monitors populations
|Need to be replaced regularly
|Removes crickets and eggs, easy to implement
|Time-consuming, may not reach all hiding spots
|Effective at reducing larger infestations
|Can be harmful to humans, pets, and other wildlife
Remember to keep your approach brief and focused on addressing the infestation in the safest and most efficient way possible.
In conclusion, camel crickets, characterized by their hump-backed appearance and long legs, are resilient insects that can survive winter in various life stages.
They seek moist and concealed environments, often becoming unintentional invaders in homes.
While they may cause minor damage, they are not harmful to humans.
Employing both non-chemical and chemical methods, such as reducing humidity, sealing gaps, and using targeted insecticides, can effectively manage and prevent their infestations, ensuring a harmonious coexistence.
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about camel cricets. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – Herd of Camel Crickets
weird japanese insect gang
Not the best photo in the world. This gang was hanging around in a dark hut on a Japanese mountain. When my brother hit his read on the doorway they all started rattling around the ceiling. I`d reall like to know what they were. Interesting looking markings, shame it was too dark and scary to get a better picture.
These are Camel Crickets also known as Cave Crickets. They are fond of dark damp places.
Letter 2 – Female Camel Cricket
Big ugly bug
This guy started hopping around in our small cabana while I was in there this past Saturday and its lucky I didn’t kill myself getting through the door (with clothes on!). >
Today it turned up dead in our pool – sorry but I have to admit I am relieved to be able to use the cabana again. Any chance there are more of them around? I have never seen anything quite like this around here (New Jersey). It clacked when it landed. Thanks. Love your site.
We wanted to check with Eric Eaton regarding your Orthopteran. Here is his answer: “Actually, it is a female Camel Cricket in the genus Ceuthophilus. There are MANY species, so that is the best I can do.” Your photo is amazing and we sympathize with your fright, but they are harmless.
Letter 3 – Camel Cricket from China
February 23, 2010
Another of the insects I saw in Sichuan, China. This one was a particular beast. Its body wasn’t much short of thumb size and as you can see its antennae are huge. I think it’s a cave cricket so I’d be very grateful if you could confirm that, and go any further with ID.
Its habitat was a forested mountain unlike your other submissions of cave crickets, so if it is indeed a member of this Family then I guess they aren’t just restricted to cave-like habitats. I also think he is far more handsome than your other submitted cave crickets, even if I do so say so myself.
This really is a lovely Orthopteran, but we aren’t certain that it is a Cave Cricket or Camel Cricket, and we would not rule out the possibility that it is a Katydid. We will contact Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can provide any more specific identification on this creature’s identity.
Eric Eaton provides an identification
The “Orthoptera from China” is indeed a camel cricket of some sort.
Hi Daniel and Eric,
Thanks very much for confirming the cricket is a member of Rhaphidophoridae.
There’s not much information on this group so I’ve given up trying to ID it
beyond family level.
Letter 4 – Greenhouse Camel Cricket
Jumping Alien Bug
Location: Cape Girardeau, Missouri-USA
October 13, 2010 4:05 pm
About a week ago we found two of these bugs barely alive in the middle of our living room floor (we kept them & took the attached pictures). Just last night we had two more appear. This time they were very alive.
They definitely jump. We have a four year old daughter that is extremely interested in bugs & playing with bugs, so it would comfort me to know what type of bug this is, as well as, if it is harmful.
They are about 1” long, with 2” long back legs, which were detached on the ones that were found in the middle of the floor. They have large black eyes & little prong-like arms coming from the back-end. Hopefully the attached pictures help.
You have Camel Crickets in the family Rhaphidophoridae, and normally we do not attempt a species identification on this family, but the unusual appearance of the divided ovipositor of the female specimen piqued our curiosity, so we looked on BugGuide and found a posting on the Greenhouse Camel Cricket, Diestrammena asynamora, that matches your specimen, but the ovipositor on the pictured individual does not appear divided.
There is a robust comment section on that posting, including a recipe for cooking them submitted by Paul Landkamer, so we will probably get David Gracer, the renowned entomophage, to comment. BugGuide also has a short information page on the species, which is believed to have originated in China, and a photo of a dead specimen is also pictured with a divided ovipositor, indicating that perhaps its complex anatomical structure is revealed after death.
In the event you are interested, the “little pronglike arms” you mentioned, which many people would describe as a large stinger, are actually the ovipositor or egg laying organ of the female. Many other Longhorned Orthopterans in the suborder Ensifera, including the Katydids, possess such an organ.
Camel Crickets will proliferate in damp dark places like basements, and though they are an annoyance if they are plentiful, they are not harmful. BugGuide includes this comment about the Greenhouse Camel Cricket: “An oportunistic scavenger, will feed on varied organic material, dead or alive. Sometimes causes damage, particularly to young plants in greenhouses.” Camel Crickets are also known as Cave Crickets.
Piotr Naskrecki provides insight
The ovipositor in the Ensifera consists of 6 valvules: a pair of lower, a pair of upper, and a pair of poorly sclerotized, inner ones.
They are never permanently fused, and may get separated if the specimen is injured, like this camel cricket appears to be. What is seen in the photo is the right upper and lower valvules separated at the tip.
David Gracer comments on edibility
Paul’s comment (hey Paul, how’s it going?) makes sense. Technically I’d never really condemned the concept of eating camel crickets, though I think I’d been unclear.
What I’d meant is that if someone suspects that a particular bug has been subsisting on dog feces, then that’s a good bug to avoid eating. Yet a lobster’s diet really isn’t any better than that.
Paul’s anecdotes and directions are the first documentation I’ve seen of camel cricket consumption, and I’m happy to see that he’s stepped forward. I’ll definitely try them from now on.
Letter 5 – Ensiferan may be Camel Cricket
Subject: what IS this thing?
Location: central prairies of colorado
July 10, 2014 7:46 pm
I live on the prairies of central Colorado and saw this little guy crawl out from a hole in the ground around the foundation to the entrance to our crawlspace. Can you help me identify it? It was 1 1/2- 2 inches long.
Signature: Katie CO
Hi Katie CO,
We received an image of an identical insect from Colorado being eaten by a burrowing owl and we are still attempting a proper identification. The best we can provide at this time is that this is a Longhorned Orthopteran in the suborder Ensifera though we suspect it is a Camel Cricket in the subfamily Ceuthophilinae which is represented on BugGuide.
We have already put in a request to Piotr Naskrecki who specializes in Katydids, but he is currently collecting in the field in Mozambique. We will forward your request as well. We hope to be able to provide you with something more certain in the near future.