What Eats Camel Crickets: Discovering Their Natural Predators

If you’re curious about the predators of camel crickets, you’re in the right place!

Camel crickets, also known as cave crickets, are typically found in moist areas such as under stones or logs, or in overgrown vegetation.

They do not chirp and can sometimes be considered a nuisance when accidentally entering homes.

In the world of nature, every creature has its predators, and camel crickets are no exception.

This article will shed light on the various animals that see camel crickets as a source of food.

By the end of this exploration, you’ll have a better understanding of the intricate web of life involving the humble camel cricket.

What Eats Camel Crickets
Camel Cricket

Understanding Camel Crickets

Camel crickets, also known as humpbacked crickets, are nocturnal insects belonging to various genera.

Their unique appearance includes a humpbacked shape, long antennae, and hind legs designed for jumping.

These crickets can vary in color from light to dark brown, allowing them to blend into their environments.

As you observe them, you’ll notice that these insects are wingless, which distinguishes them from other cricket species.

Their impressive hind legs give them the ability to leap great distances, making them agile and elusive creatures.

In summary, camel crickets can be identified by their:

  • Humpbacked shape
  • Long antennae
  • Wingless body
  • Light to dark brown color
  • Hind legs for jumping

The Natural Habitat of Camel Crickets

Camel crickets are fascinating creatures that can be found in various environments across the world. In their natural habitat, you will typically find them in moist, dark places such as caves and under logs and stones.

These locations provide an ideal environment for them to thrive, as they are drawn to humidity and cool temperatures.

Outdoors, camel crickets can be found under objects like mulch, stones, bushes, and logs. They often inhabit areas overgrown with vegetation such as ivy, which offers excellent hiding spots.

Nearby bodies of water may also provide the moisture they seek, allowing them to live in balance with their surroundings.

Possibly Sand-Treader Cricket

Fungi play a significant role in the diet of camel crickets, making them more likely to be found in areas where these organisms thrive.

Additionally, these insects have been known to cohabit with humans for thousands of years, as evidenced by a camel cricket carving discovered in a cave in France, dating back 17,000 to 12,000 years ago.

Now that you’re more familiar with the natural habitat of camel crickets, it will be easier to understand and appreciate their role in the ecosystem.

Despite not chirping like their relatives, these unique insects are vital contributors to the environments they inhabit.

So the next time you explore the great outdoors, keep an eye out for camel crickets and remember the importance of their presence.

Camel Crickets and Human Spaces

Camel crickets can be found in various locations around your home, mainly indoors in moist, dark, and cool areas.

These insects are often attracted to basements, garages, crawl spaces, and damp basements1.

When living in your home or other buildings, they can become a nuisance and cause damage.

For example, they can infest fabric, touch wood, and harm plants and carpets. To prevent an infestation, make sure to seal gaps around your windows and in utility rooms2.

Camel cricket females are attracted to places with damp leaves and humidity, such as woodpiles3.

To prevent infestations, keep these areas well ventilated and clean of debris. Some common hiding spots include:

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Damp leaves
  • Moist woodpiles
  • Poorly ventilated spaces

It is crucial to maintain a clean and dry environment to decrease the likelihood of camel crickets entering your home4.

Camel Cricket

Camel Cricket Diet

Camel crickets are omnivorous insects that feed on a variety of organic materials. Their diet mainly consists of:

  • Other insects: They eat dead or weakened insects they come across.
  • Fungi: They consume various types of fungi, aiding in the decomposition process.
  • Plants: They feed on decaying plant materials and will occasionally munch on living plants in your garden.
  • Debris: They help break down organic matter, such as dead leaves and rotting wood.

What Eats Camel Crickets?

Some common predators of camel crickets include Spiders, Birds, Rodents, Salamanders, Arthropods, and Fish.

Camel crickets are also food for the food web in caves.

They can move in and out of caves, bringing organic material into the nutrient-poor environment.

The Life Cycle of Camel Crickets

Camel crickets go through a life cycle that includes eggs, nymphs, and adults. Let’s take a closer look at each stage.

Eggs: In early spring, female camel crickets lay their eggs in moist areas. These eggs hatch into nymphs, which look very similar to adult camel crickets, but smaller.

Nymphs: Nymphs start to grow and develop in early spring and throughout the fall months. They are active and likely to be found in damp environments, like under stones or in stacks of firewood.

Adults: After several molts, nymphs mature into adults. These fully-grown camel crickets can live for up to two years and are typically active during the fall months.

Here are some key features to remember about camel crickets:

  • They thrive in moist environments
  • They prefer to live outdoors, but can accidentally enter homes
  • They do not chirp, as they lack sound-producing organs
  • They are wingless and have large hind legs for jumping

It’s important to know the life cycle and characteristics of camel crickets, as it helps you to better understand their needs and habits. In turn, this knowledge can assist you in managing any potential issues with these insects.’

Camel Cricket

Conclusion

Camel crickets are a fascinating insect, often found in moist outdoor areas like under stones and logs, but they can also find their way indoors. If they do end up in your home, it’s essential to know what creatures might prey on them.

One example of a natural predator for camel crickets is the spider. In particular, house spiders and cellar spiders are known to prey on these insects.

Another predator of camel crickets is the centipede. These arthropods have a voracious appetite and will not hesitate to make a meal out of a camel cricket.

While there are natural predators for camel crickets, it’s important to maintain a clean and moisture-free environment in your home to prevent infestations.

This will not only reduce the chances of camel crickets invading your space but also limit the likelihood of predators following them indoors.

Remember, understanding the natural enemies of pests like camel crickets can help you manage them effectively. Good luck and happy pest-free living!

Footnotes

  1. [https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/camel-crickets]

  2. [https://extension.umn.edu/nuisance-insects/crickets]

  3. [http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/camel-crickets-cave-crickets]

  4. [https://ipm.ucanr.edu/agriculture/lettuce/field-crickets/]

Reader Emails

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 Crickets infest basement in New York

WTF
Location: Long Island NY
December 11, 2011 4:08 pm
Hey! So we found these creepy lil suckers in the basement of a Long Island home that has a back and frontyard. To me, it looks like the offspring of a spider, cricket and a bee. Any thoughts?
Signature: Sleeping with a Flashlight

Camel Crickets

Dear Sleeping with a Flashlight,
We didn’t have any new letters to post today, so we turned to our backlog of unanswered questions.  Your letter arrived just prior to the end of the semester and holiday rush, and we didn’t have a chance to respond in a timely manner.  It seems you might have an infestation of Camel Crickets in your basement.  Camel Crickets are basically harmless creatures that will not bite you or your pets, but they may do minor damage to stored items if they get plentiful.  According to BugGuide, the best way to get rid of them is to remove their habitat, piles of clutter including logs and boards that might be in the basement.  Also reducing the humidity will make the basement inhospitable.

Camel Crickets

Letter 2 – Dead Camel Cricket

Hi there!
I just killed this bug in my office (sorry, I know that is bad), and I just saw another one hopping around…

Poor dead Camel Cricket.

Letter 3 – Cave Wetas from New Zealand

Cave Wetas from NZ
Hi there,
These are cave wetas from New Zealand for your records.
Good luck
Daniel

Hi Daniel,
We are somewhat behind in answering our mail, and we love your photo. Thanks for sending it to us.

Letter 4 – Cave Cricket from the Philippines

Cave cricket – Philippines
Thu, Jan 22, 2009 at 12:16 PM
Hi there,
I love you site and take a look at least once a week to see what wonderful life people around the world have been finding. I hope you enjoy the attached pictures of a cricket we found in a cave in Sohoton National park, Samar in The Philippines.
He was 3-4 inches in length, but his antennae were almost double that. I’m amazed by the ‘toes’ on his back legs and it’s ‘tail’. Forgive me for not knowing the scientific names of it’s body parts.
Noel, UK
Philippines

Camel Cricket
Camel Cricket

Hi Noel,
Your Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket in the family Rhaphidophoridae is actually a female as evidenced by her ovipositor or “tail.”   The Camel Cricket is a Bug of the Month for January 2009.  While we don’t know the exact species of your specimen, nor do we know the common name in the Philippines, we are confident that the family Rhaphidophoridae is correct.

Cave Cricket
Cave Cricket

Letter 5 – Cave Cricket

Possible grasshopper
July 19, 2009
Dear WTB,
We found this bug inside our kayak yesterday while rinsing it out. We’re not sure if it came from the reservoir we just came from or from our yard. It’s just under 3 inches long and the antennae are twice the size of it’s body. We’ve never seen anything like this before and would appreciate if you could identify it for us. Thanks!
Jackie M.
Flemington, NJ

Cave Cricket
Cave Cricket

Hi Jackie,
This is a Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket in the family Rhaphidophoridae.  According to BugGuide, they live in “Cool damp places – caves, rotten logs, under leaves or rocks. Will not reproduce indoors unless they find continuous dark, moist conditions.
”  We believe your individual may be in the genus Diestrammena.  Cave Crickets can jump several feet and often startle residents who discover them in the basement.

Letter 6 – Cave Cricket from the Philippines

cave invertebrates
Location: Lanao del Norte, Philippines
November 15, 2010 1:12 am
i would like to ask a help to identify these specimen. i collected these invertebrates from the cave in the Philippines. i find it hard to identify them because i have no standard taxonomic keys and other references. Please kindly help me because they are needed to be identify for my thesis. I hope for your help, as soon as possible. Thank you for your consideration.
Signature: immediately

Cave Cricket

Dear immediately,
This is a Camel Cricket in the family Rhaphidophoridae, and they are also called Cave Crickets.

Letter 7 – Drowned Camel Cricket mistaken for a Mosquito in West Virginia

Subject: Insect???
Location: WV Fairmont 26554
July 25, 2017 10:31 am
I found 2 of these bugs, mosquitoes? in Mr little wading pool in July of this year 2017. I live in West Virginia 26554.
Please let me know if you can identify.
Thank you
Signature: Terri

Drowned Camel Cricket

Dear Terri,
This is not a Mosquito.  This is a Camel Cricket, a harmless insect that is often found in dark, damp places including basements.

Authors

  • 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.

4 thoughts on “What Eats Camel Crickets: Discovering Their Natural Predators”

  1. Absolutely disgusting …….. I lived in a condo that did not have a basement near a wetlands and had the pleasure (not) of finding these things crawling around in my bathroom / kitchen /living room and bedroom . Also found in my laundry basket on occasion ……… yuck yuck and yuck jump vertifcal at you when try to kill !

    Reply
  2. Started thinking these were Crickets in my Long Island basement, until my sister said every1 has em & they’re called “Jumping Spiders. So I researched em & once I found out they are harmless, I caught them in my cupped hands & let them outside. recently I caught 1 & played with it, & it went from frightened to very friendly & curious, especially with my arm hair. So I let it crawl around me for a while, & a few times it preferred staying on me than going on to the lawn or shrubbery. I had to push it off. Really beautiful creature, like a Crickets, with a Yellow jacket shaped body. 2 long back legs &, big eyes, 2 small tentacles, & so gentle & fun to connect with. Please, they won’t/can’t bite human skin at all. Try to gently cup them with your hands as they are very quick & fast, & let them go outside. They are also called “Grass Crickets,” & not like any Spiders at all. They seems startling at first, jumping & all, but they’re simply crickets that jump. They don’t make that searing cricket buzz at all, so they’re even nicer.

    Reply
  3. Camel crickets, millipedes, sowbugs and pillbugs have high moisture needs, which is why they are attracted to basements.

    To get rid of these bugs:

    Repair leaky faucets and dripping pipes. Use a dehumidifier to dry the air in your basement. Correct the underlying cause of your moisture problem. Seal any potential insect entry points with caulk. And Sweep or vacuum regularly.

    Source: https://basementwaterproofingcentral.com

    Reply
  4. Camel crickets, millipedes, sowbugs and pillbugs have high moisture needs, which is why they are attracted to basements.

    To get rid of these bugs:

    Repair leaky faucets and dripping pipes. Use a dehumidifier to dry the air in your basement. Correct the underlying cause of your moisture problem. Seal any potential insect entry points with caulk. And Sweep or vacuum regularly.

    Source: https://basementwaterproofingcentral.com

    Reply

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