Does Vinegar Kill Camel Crickets? A Quick Guide to Natural Pest Control

Vinegar has long been hailed for its versatility and effectiveness as a natural cleaning agent.

Many people have turned to vinegar as a safer, more environmentally friendly alternative to harsh chemical cleaners.

However, when it comes to dealing with common household pests like camel crickets, the efficacy of vinegar is less certain.

Camel crickets are known for their humpbacked appearance and long, spider-like legs.

Does Vinegar Kill Camel Crickets

These insects are typically found in damp, dark environments like basements and crawl spaces.

While many homeowners may be tempted to reach for a bottle of vinegar in hopes of eradicating these pests, it’s important to understand the limitations of this natural remedy.

Although vinegar’s 5% acetic acid content is strong enough to kill some household pathogens, it does not effectively eliminate all types of bacteria and pests.

In fact, vinegar is not recommended as a substitute for commercial disinfectants when dealing with certain pathogens, like salmonella.

To address a camel cricket infestation, it may be necessary to explore other pest control options, such as traps or professional extermination services.

Understanding Camel Crickets

Characteristics and Identification

Camel crickets, also known as spider crickets, cave crickets, or sprickets, are unique insects with a humpbacked appearance and long legs, giving them a spider-like appearance.

They are typically brownish in color. Some key characteristics include:

  • Wingless adult forms1
  • Lack of sound-producing organs2
  • Long antennae3

Habitat and Behavior

These crickets are fond of dark and damp environments, such as:

  • Caves3
  • Basements4
  • Cellars4
  • Garages5
  • Under rocks5

Camel crickets are also known to jump, taking advantage of their large hind legs4.

Common Problems and Nuisance

Although they do not chirp or pose any significant health risks or bite humans, camel crickets can become a nuisance when they take up residence in homes, especially in basements.

They are attracted to cool, dark, moist, and humid areas and are often described as “accidental invaders”5.

Camel Cricket Infestations

Signs of Infestation

Some signs of camel cricket infestations include:

  • Sightings of the crickets themselves
  • Damaged fabrics, carpets, and curtains
  • Unusual sounds at night (due to movements, not chirping)

Causes and Attraction Factors

Factors that attract camel crickets to your home include:

  • Damp environments such as basements or crawl spaces
  • Availability of food, which can be various indoor insects like ants, spiders, house crickets, and field crickets
  • Hiding places, such as cluttered storage areas or piles of clothes

Effects on the Household

Camel cricket infestations can cause various issues, including:

  • Damage to carpets, fabrics, clothing, and curtains due to their feeding habits
  • Distress from their unsettling appearance and behavior

In comparison, other cricket types like mole crickets can cause damage to turfgrass, whereas house and field crickets are more of a nuisance due to their noise.

Cricket Type Damage/Effects Habitat Preferences
Camel Crickets Fabrics, carpets Damp areas, indoors
Mole Crickets Turfgrass Soil, outdoors
House/Field Noise, indoor pests Various, indoors/outdoors

Overall, controlling camel cricket infestations is important for maintaining a comfortable and damage-free household.

Remember to seal up gaps, eliminate damp environments, and keep living spaces clean and clutter-free to help prevent future infestations.

Eliminating Camel Crickets

Does Vinegar Kill Camel Crickets? Natural Remedies To Eliminate Them

One natural remedy to get rid of camel crickets is using white vinegar.

Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and water, and spray the solution on areas where crickets are seen. This solution kills them1.

Another natural option is diatomaceous earth. Sprinkle it around infested areas to kill crickets when they come in contact with it(source).

Essential oils also help. Some popular options:

  • Peppermint oil
  • Cedar oil
  • Neem oil

Combine 10-15 drops of oil with water, and spray around infested areas. They act as natural repellents.

Chemical Solutions

Boric acid and borax can be effective in killing camel crickets.

Sprinkle these powders in damp places where crickets hide. Keep these chemicals away from children and pets.

Cricket glue traps are another solution. Some options:

  • Cardboard traps
  • Liquid dish soap traps

Place them in strategic locations to catch crickets.

Preventive Measures

A key strategy is ensuring your home isn’t attractive to camel crickets. Some tips:

  • Seal entry points
  • Use a dehumidifier
  • Regularly vacuum

Encourage a natural environment outside your home, by planting cricket-repelling plants:

  • Lemongrass
  • Garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Citronella

By following these steps, you can efficiently eliminate camel crickets and prevent future infestations.

Additional Tips and Information

Recognizing Types of Crickets

There are various types of crickets, including house crickets, camel crickets, and cave crickets. To differentiate them:

  • House crickets are typically light brown with dark markings and produce a distinctive chirping sound.
  • Camel crickets have a slightly humpbacked appearance and long legs resembling a spider. They do not chirp and have no wings as adults.
  • Cave crickets are similar to camel crickets but are found predominantly in caves.

Be sure to monitor the effectiveness of these natural remedies, traps, and control measures to ensure a cricket-free home.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while vinegar is a popular natural remedy, its efficacy against camel crickets is not universally proven.

Camel crickets, characterized by their humpbacked appearance and long legs, thrive in damp, dark environments and can cause damage to fabrics within homes.

A combination of preventive measures, natural remedies, and chemical solutions can be employed to manage infestations, with professional pest control services recommended for severe cases.

Understanding the behavior and preferences of camel crickets is key to effectively controlling their presence.

Footnotes

  1. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/camel-crickets 2 3
  2. https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/camel-crickets/
  3. https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/camel-cricket 2
  4. https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/camel-crickets-cave-crickets 2 3 4
  5. https://extension.umaine.edu/home–garden–ipm/fact–sheets/common–name–listing/camel–cricket/ 2 3 4

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

Subject: What Bug Is This? Camel Cricket?
Location: Northern NJ
December 17, 2012 10:27 am
I keep finding these in my ground-floor garden-style apartment in Northern NJ. They are big – easily 2-3 inches in length, and FAST. They are very resistant to bug spray/hard to kill.

Windows and doors are tightly sealed so I do not know how these SCARY looking bugs are getting in. From looking on your site, it looks like it might be a Camel Cricket, but I am not sure.
Signature: SCARED

Camel Cricket

Dear SCARED,
You are correct.  This is a Camel Cricket.  They are often found in basements and other damp, dark locations.  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 2 – Camel Cricket

Subject: Gorgeous primeval alien bug
Location: North Dakota
July 24, 2013 10:31 pm
Hey there!
I’ve submitted in the past – a fishing spider with her babies – and since then, I’ve gotten into insect and arachnid photography in a major way. (I even have a Bug Love album inspired by that section of your site!) Sadly, my shot of the intriguing bug we found this July evening isn’t particularly artistic –

I snapped it quickly after my younger brother dashed past the intimidating little creature and hid in the house. I’m getting pretty good at identifying many of the insects around my house in North Dakota, but to be honest, I’m kind of at a loss here.

Everyone I’ve talked to seems agreed that it’s probably some kind of cricket, resembling a house cricket in some ways, but the spikes on the hind legs seem unusually large! Can you help me out?
Thanks so much for your time, for the past identification, and for the site! It’s a major source of inspiration and joy for me.
Signature: Amanda

Camel Cricket
Camel Cricket

Dear Amanda,
This is a Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket in the family
Rhaphidophoridae, and the arched back that is so distinctive is not visible in this dorsal view.  A lateral view of a Camel Cricket reveals this feature.  Camel Crickets are generally found in dark and damp locations. You can read more about Camel Crickets on BugGuide.

Letter 3 – Camel Cricket

Subject: Weird chricket?
Location: Augusta, Georgia
October 1, 2013 9:07 pm
Hi, I appreciate what you do very much! I moved a n object that was covered and had some moisture and darkness under it. I live in Augusta , Georgia and the time of this find was Septumber 28th and 82 degrees . There were many of these insects in a group and I managed to snap a photo of this one.
Please let me know what kind of bug this is?
Thank you,
Signature: Larry Beatson

Camel Cricket
Camel Cricket

Hi Larry,
Camel Crickets like the one in your photo are frequently found in damp, dark places like cellars and crawl spaces.  Camel Crickets are also known as Cave Crickets.

Letter 4 – Camel Cricket

Subject: What is this
Location: Baltimore, MD
November 26, 2013 4:53 pm
I am finding this spider/bug daily in my home. I would like to know what it is? If it is dangerous to my family? And how do I rid my home of it?
Signature: F Johnson

Camel Cricket
Camel Cricket

Dear F Johnson,
This is a Camel Cricket, and they are generally found in damp, dark places like basements where they feed on a variety of organic matter including paper and fabric.  Though they may become a nuisance if they are plentiful, they are benign creatures that will not pose any danger to your family. 

According to BugGuide:  “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.” 

With ocean levels rising due to global warming, inhabitants of coastal cities might find that it is getting increasingly difficult to keep basements from being overly damp, thus contributing to a rise in the populations of creatures that inhabit damp, dark environments.

Letter 5 – Camel Cricket

Subject: What’s That Bug
Location: Eastern NC
December 13, 2013 2:50 pm
Can you identify?
Signature: Denise Jones

Camel Cricket
Camel Cricket

Dear Denise,
This is a Camel Cricket and it is missing one of its hind legs which allow it to jump for significant distances.  Camel Crickets like dark and damp places, and they are often found in basements and cellars.

Letter 6 – Camel Cricket

Subject: What is this
Location: St. Louis
December 1, 2014 6:45 pm
Finding these in my basement all the time. I live in St. Louis, not near a river. Near hwys 170 and 64. Let me know.

They hop very fast away when scared. What would you suggest I do about getting rid of these in a non harmful way
Signature: Brad

Camel Cricket
Camel Cricket

Dear Brad,
Camel Crickets prefer damp and dark conditions that are generally found in basements.  Making your basement brighter and drier should help.

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.

    View all posts
  • 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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3 thoughts on “Does Vinegar Kill Camel Crickets? A Quick Guide to Natural Pest Control”

  1. I live in Midwest City , Oklahoma and we have these Camel Crickets all over our garage. I actually had one jump on my ankle and was actually bit or stung by it. I am highly allergic to bites or stings of any kind so I had a quarter size whelp for about 2 days. It kind of felt like a fire ant sting. I looked down when I felt it thought it was a spider and found the exact picture on your site. I didn’t however find out if they could bite, but this one did. It was just weird. Your site is so helpful . Thank you for the identifying pictures. I would never have known what they were called..

    Reply
  2. Sea level rise will make basements more damp? On what planet? Are your basements at or below sea level? They would already be damp. Anything else isn’t going to be from sea level rise. It will be from shoddy home maintenance and allowing water to collect and pool. I live on the coast. 15 feet ASL. Nobody in their right mind would have a basement right at sea level. It would be flooded all the time.

    Reply

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