Where Do Camel Crickets Come From? Uncovering Their Mysterious Origins

folder_openInsecta, Orthoptera
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Camel crickets are insects that can be found throughout the world, with over 100 different kinds in the United States and Canada alone.

Despite their name, these crickets do not chirp as they have no sound-producing organs.

If you’ve encountered them in your home, it’s likely because they are attracted to cool, dark, moist, and humid areas, making them common invaders of basements and storage spaces.

Where Do Camel Crickets Come From

Although generally considered nuisance pests rather than harmful ones, camel crickets can still cause discomfort when they find their way into homes and buildings.

While these “accidental invaders” are typically found outdoors, they often wander in from nearby suitable habitats when seeking shelter from extreme weather conditions source.

So, if you’re experiencing issues with camel crickets, it’s important to understand where these insects come from.

By learning more about their habitats and behavior patterns, you can take steps to prevent their invasion into your home or control their population if they have already established a presence.

Origins and Habitat

Common Habitats

Camel crickets are often found in damp, humid areas where they can hide from predators and stay moist. You might see them:

  • In soil or mulch piles
  • Under logs, stones, and debris
  • In caves and wells
  • Hiding in ground covers, shrubs, or tall grasses
  • In damp basements or crawl spaces of buildings

These insects thrive in moist environments, so they tend to congregate in areas with high humidity.

Geographical Distribution

Camel crickets are widely distributed around the world, with over 100 different species found in the United States and Canada. They are often seen in moist areas, such as:

  • Forests with plenty of dead trees, logs, and leaf litter
  • Grasslands with tall grasses and thick ground cover
  • Caves and other dark, damp underground spaces

Even though they’re primarily drawn to outdoor locations, camel crickets may also take up residence inside your home if the conditions are right. Keep an eye out for them around damp basements or other moist areas in your house.

Physical Characteristics

Color and Appearance

Camel crickets, as their name suggests, have a humpbacked appearance, which makes them quite distinctive.

Their color can vary from light to dark brown, which helps them blend in with their surroundings. Here is a summary of their appearance and features:

  • Humpbacked shape
  • Light to dark brown color
  • Blends well with surroundings

Anatomical Features

When it comes to the anatomical features of camel crickets, some prominent ones include their long, slender legs, specifically their hind legs. These legs allow them to jump quite high, like other cricket species.

Additionally, their long antennae are essential for detecting their environment, as they mostly navigate using touch instead of sound.

However, camel crickets do not have wings, a feature that sets them apart from other cricket species.

This means they do not produce the familiar chirping sound associated with crickets. Let’s take a look at the key anatomical features of camel crickets:

  • Long, slender legs
    • Prominent hind legs for jumping
  • Long antennae for touch-based navigation
  • Lack of wings (no chirping sound)

Lifestyle and Behavior

Diet

Camel crickets, both nymphs and adults, are omnivorous scavengers. Their diet consists primarily of:

  • Dead or decaying plants
  • Insects
  • Organic matter

They are even known to eat their own eggs if their surroundings lack sufficient food.

Reproduction

Camel crickets reproduce during spring and summer. Female crickets lay their eggs in moist, dark hiding places, like under rocks or logs.

Once hatched, the nymphs begin to grow, going through multiple immature stages before transforming into adult crickets.

Activity Patterns

Camel crickets are nocturnal creatures, meaning they stay active during the night. Their ability to move around is impressive, thanks to their strong, enlarged hind legs.

Those powerful limbs also provide an important escape mechanism, helping them jump to safety when disturbed.

By understanding their preferences, you might better manage camel cricket populations around your home.

Keep in mind their attraction to cool, dark, and moist environments, and remember that these agile critters tend to come out when the sun goes down.

Where Do Camel Crickets Come From?

Camel crickets, found in various outdoor locations, may sometimes invade your home. You might find them in dark, damp areas such as basements, garages, crawl spaces, laundry rooms, bathrooms, and utility rooms.

Although they are generally considered a nuisance and not known for causing significant damage to your home, a large infestation of these pests may still be a problem.

For example:

  • They could feed on fabrics and paper materials
  • Cause distress to residents who find them unsettling

Are Camel Crickets Dangerous?

Camel crickets, often found in moist areas such as under stones or logs, are known to be accidental invaders in homes and buildings 1. While they do not pose any significant health threats, these insects can be a nuisance pest.

Their presence could indicate excessive moisture in your home or yard, which could lead to other issues such as mold and fungi growth.

Camel crickets don’t typically bite or possess wings2. Although they lack any sound-producing organs, they also don’t chirp like other crickets3.

Again, as they prefer dark, moist environments, their presence can sometimes be an indicator of potential issues, such as:

  • Mold and mildew growth
  • Presence of other pests like rodents or insects attracted to the same conditions

It’s essential to address any infestations promptly and find the source of the problem to prevent further issues.

Prevention and Control

To prevent and control camel cricket infestations in your home, consider the following tips:

1. Seal entry points:

  • Examine doors, windows, and vents for gaps
  • Install weather-stripping for a tighter seal
  • Fill any cracks with caulk

2. Reduce moisture and humidity:

  • Use a dehumidifier in damp areas
  • Fix leaking pipes and other water sources

3. Remove potential hiding places:

  • Keep outdoor areas free of clutter and overgrown vegetation
  • Store firewood away from your home

4. Traps and pest control:

  • Set up sticky traps in affected areas
  • Hire a professional pest control service if necessary
  • Use insecticides or chemical control cautiously, following the instructions and safety guidelines

By following these tips, you can minimize the risk of camel cricket infestations and keep your home free from these unwelcome visitors.

Conclusion

In conclusion, camel crickets are a widespread and diverse group of insects, notable for their unique physical characteristics and preference for moist, dark environments.

While they pose no significant health risks, their presence in homes can be unsettling and indicative of underlying moisture issues.

Understanding their habits and habitats is key to effectively managing and preventing infestations, ensuring our living spaces remain comfortable and cricket-free.

Footnotes

  1. NC State Extension Publications – Camel Crickets

  2. Home & Garden Information Center – Camel Crickets

  3. Field Station – Camel Cricket – the Rest of the Story

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 Crickets

unknown insect?
Sat, Oct 25, 2008 at 10:15 PM
While preparing to move things in for the winter, I found these six bugs huddled together behind something for protection against the rain and cold. They are on the side of a tall, fake rock flower bed. I’ve had what I thought were crickets in my basement for the last two summers, but didn’t pay much attention, other then they never made any noises, which I found unusual. The ones in my basement may have looked like these I didn’t pay much attention, I just got them out of there. They don’t jump real well. They freaked my daughter out every time she went down there. What are the ones on the wall?? Please help me I’m stumped.
Jenny
Missouri

Camel Crickets
Camel Crickets

Hi Jenny,
We get numerous requests for the identification of Camel Crickets or Cave Crickets in the family Rhaphidophoridae, but rarely do we get an accompanying photo as awesome as yours. 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.” We are wondering if we will hear from David Gracer that they are edible.

Thank you for identifying these!  Now that you have, I’ve done a little reading. That they eat their own limbs to avoid starving.  Apparently the ones on the left ate their back right legs.  I wondered why they were missing.  We have had a few in the basement. But I found these outside.  I have been collecting fossil rocks, I guess its time to put them in a plastic container and away inside.
Thanks so much for your help.

Camel Crickets
Camel Crickets

Hi again Jenny,
Thanks for the additional information.  We also got a comment from a reader who discovered some eating canine feces and David Gracer wrote back that though they are theoretically edible, Camel Crickets probably don’t taste very good because of their diet.  Many members in this order, Orthoptera, will cannibalize their own species if they can’t find food.  Also, legs get lost for a variety of reasons, and may be eaten if they are severed.

Letter 2 – Camel Crickets

new visitors
I have lived in my home for 20 years, and NEVER have I seen these new intruders. They let me know they’re here each time I go into my basement. HELP!!!! How do I encourage them to move somewhere else??? (I live in NJ, and it has been a very wet October.)
Thanks…..

Camel Crickets love damp basements and we really don’t know how to tell you to discourage them. Maybe a dehumidifier. Since you have pictured a pair, you may soon have even more.

Letter 3 – Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket

BIG HOPPING BUG IN BATHROOM
I have these huge cricket like bugs in my bathroom and in my linen closet. They leave there nasty little dropping all over my clean sheets. I just walked into my bathroom and there was a HUGE one hanging out on my shower curtain. What the heck are these creatures??

You have a Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket from the Family Gryllacrididae. They are often found in basements and other damp places.

Letter 4 – Camel Cricket

Hump back with HUGE thighs in Hood River, Oregon
I love your website, and spent about 3 hours looking at pictures trying to ID my cricket/katydid. It isn’t what I think it is. We found this in my front yard while digging out fence posts. I can’t see any wings, it’s back is armored and humped, it’s coppery brown and very shiny, about an inch long. I was most impressed with it’s huge thighs! Can you help? Thanks,
Kathy Petersen in Oregon.

Hi Kathy,
In our opinion, this is a Camel Cricket in the family Rhaphidophoridae, though it does not look like the basement dwelling species we usually receive. We believe your specimen is in the genus Ceuthophilus, as evidenced by images posted to BugGuide.

Update: (08/26/2008) from Eric Eaton
Daniel:
The camel cricket is just that, probably in the genus Ceuthophilus or Pristoceuthophilus. It looks like a combination of the two, actually! Males of Pristoceuthophilus usually have a dramatic bow in the hind tibia, which this specimen does not have. So, it might be a genus I am unfamiliar with….
Eric Eaton

Letter 5 – Camel Cricket

Dear Bugman
I looked under your carnage section as I was looking for a bug I just found in my apartment. I think it is the camel cricket. I was sitting at my desk fiddling with my iphone when my girlfriend squeeled and pointed up our 15 ft wall. Near the top was this funky looking critter. I thought it was a Junebug that had sipped some Philly style waste and went JuneHulk but I caught it with a paper and cup and threw it in the street. Anyway, Is my conclusion that it is a camel cricket correct?

You are correct. This is a Camel Cricket.

Letter 6 – Camel Cricket Carnage

Help !!
Dear Bugman,
Here are a few pics of the bugs I would like to have identified, We live in NJ and have no basement. The bugs started to appear about a day or two after we opened a carton with a new bed frame in it. ( Maybe just coincidence )So far there have been about 10 of the critters, none for a few days now. I would like to know if possible what it is and where it came from. My closest guess it is some sort of cricket although it did not make any sounds as crickets usually do. Thanks for you anticipated help.
Arnie G

Hi Arnie,
This is a Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket. They are frequently found in basements as they like damp dark places. As your home has no basement, and since you did just have a carton delivered, it is possible that the crickets entered the carton at the storage facility. They are benign creatures that often startle homemakers when they are found in numbers in basements, bathrooms, garages, sheds and other favorable habitats.

Letter 7 – Camel Crickets caught in glue traps for mice

Large Cricket Like Bug
October 24, 2009
Here I’ve found a large cricket like bug with really long antennae. The actual body of the bug looks to be about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in length (not counting the legs or antennae. They seem to gravitate towards mice glue traps. Any help regarding these guys would be greatly appreciated.
Regards
Suffern, NY (NorthEast U.S.)

Camel Crickets caught in glue traps for mice
Camel Crickets caught in glue traps for mice

These are Camel Crickets or Cave Crickets.  They need dark, damp locations to live and reproduce.  Indoors, they are found in basements where they may eat paper and fabric.  Though we don’t normally provide extermination advice, many of our readers ask how to rid their homes of Camel Crickets.  Your photo says it all.

Camel Cricket in Glue Trap

Letter 8 – Camel Cricket appears after Hurricane Florence

Subject:  Insect identification
Geographic location of the bug:  N Myrtle Beach SC
Date: 09/17/2018
Time: 10:24 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hey bug man I came across this insect on the outside wall  of my garage today, after Hurricane Florence had passed. I’ve never seen this before, nor have my local friends. Just curious to find out what it is and perhaps some information on it.
Thanks for any insight
How you want your letter signed:  Maddy

Camel Cricket

Dear Maddy,
This is a Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket, and they are relatively common, though they are generally found in damp, dark places like basements.  Perhaps its home was flooded during the rain brought by Hurricane Florence.

Thank you so much for your rapid response! I’ll have share this with my friends

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

unknown insect?
Sat, Oct 25, 2008 at 10:15 PM
While preparing to move things in for the winter, I found these six bugs huddled together behind something for protection against the rain and cold. They are on the side of a tall, fake rock flower bed. I’ve had what I thought were crickets in my basement for the last two summers, but didn’t pay much attention, other then they never made any noises, which I found unusual. The ones in my basement may have looked like these I didn’t pay much attention, I just got them out of there. They don’t jump real well. They freaked my daughter out every time she went down there. What are the ones on the wall?? Please help me I’m stumped.
Jenny
Missouri

Camel Crickets
Camel Crickets

Hi Jenny,
We get numerous requests for the identification of Camel Crickets or Cave Crickets in the family Rhaphidophoridae, but rarely do we get an accompanying photo as awesome as yours. 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.” We are wondering if we will hear from David Gracer that they are edible.

Thank you for identifying these!  Now that you have, I’ve done a little reading. That they eat their own limbs to avoid starving.  Apparently the ones on the left ate their back right legs.  I wondered why they were missing.  We have had a few in the basement. But I found these outside.  I have been collecting fossil rocks, I guess its time to put them in a plastic container and away inside.
Thanks so much for your help.

Camel Crickets
Camel Crickets

Hi again Jenny,
Thanks for the additional information.  We also got a comment from a reader who discovered some eating canine feces and David Gracer wrote back that though they are theoretically edible, Camel Crickets probably don’t taste very good because of their diet.  Many members in this order, Orthoptera, will cannibalize their own species if they can’t find food.  Also, legs get lost for a variety of reasons, and may be eaten if they are severed.

Letter 2 – Camel Crickets

new visitors
I have lived in my home for 20 years, and NEVER have I seen these new intruders. They let me know they’re here each time I go into my basement. HELP!!!! How do I encourage them to move somewhere else??? (I live in NJ, and it has been a very wet October.)
Thanks…..

Camel Crickets love damp basements and we really don’t know how to tell you to discourage them. Maybe a dehumidifier. Since you have pictured a pair, you may soon have even more.

Letter 3 – Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket

BIG HOPPING BUG IN BATHROOM
I have these huge cricket like bugs in my bathroom and in my linen closet. They leave there nasty little dropping all over my clean sheets. I just walked into my bathroom and there was a HUGE one hanging out on my shower curtain. What the heck are these creatures??

You have a Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket from the Family Gryllacrididae. They are often found in basements and other damp places.

Letter 4 – Camel Cricket

Hump back with HUGE thighs in Hood River, Oregon
I love your website, and spent about 3 hours looking at pictures trying to ID my cricket/katydid. It isn’t what I think it is. We found this in my front yard while digging out fence posts. I can’t see any wings, it’s back is armored and humped, it’s coppery brown and very shiny, about an inch long. I was most impressed with it’s huge thighs! Can you help? Thanks,
Kathy Petersen in Oregon.

Hi Kathy,
In our opinion, this is a Camel Cricket in the family Rhaphidophoridae, though it does not look like the basement dwelling species we usually receive. We believe your specimen is in the genus Ceuthophilus, as evidenced by images posted to BugGuide.

Update: (08/26/2008) from Eric Eaton
Daniel:
The camel cricket is just that, probably in the genus Ceuthophilus or Pristoceuthophilus. It looks like a combination of the two, actually! Males of Pristoceuthophilus usually have a dramatic bow in the hind tibia, which this specimen does not have. So, it might be a genus I am unfamiliar with….
Eric Eaton

Letter 5 – Camel Cricket

Dear Bugman
I looked under your carnage section as I was looking for a bug I just found in my apartment. I think it is the camel cricket. I was sitting at my desk fiddling with my iphone when my girlfriend squeeled and pointed up our 15 ft wall. Near the top was this funky looking critter. I thought it was a Junebug that had sipped some Philly style waste and went JuneHulk but I caught it with a paper and cup and threw it in the street. Anyway, Is my conclusion that it is a camel cricket correct?

You are correct. This is a Camel Cricket.

Letter 6 – Camel Cricket Carnage

Help !!
Dear Bugman,
Here are a few pics of the bugs I would like to have identified, We live in NJ and have no basement. The bugs started to appear about a day or two after we opened a carton with a new bed frame in it. ( Maybe just coincidence )So far there have been about 10 of the critters, none for a few days now. I would like to know if possible what it is and where it came from. My closest guess it is some sort of cricket although it did not make any sounds as crickets usually do. Thanks for you anticipated help.
Arnie G

Hi Arnie,
This is a Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket. They are frequently found in basements as they like damp dark places. As your home has no basement, and since you did just have a carton delivered, it is possible that the crickets entered the carton at the storage facility. They are benign creatures that often startle homemakers when they are found in numbers in basements, bathrooms, garages, sheds and other favorable habitats.

Letter 7 – Camel Crickets caught in glue traps for mice

Large Cricket Like Bug
October 24, 2009
Here I’ve found a large cricket like bug with really long antennae. The actual body of the bug looks to be about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in length (not counting the legs or antennae. They seem to gravitate towards mice glue traps. Any help regarding these guys would be greatly appreciated.
Regards
Suffern, NY (NorthEast U.S.)

Camel Crickets caught in glue traps for mice
Camel Crickets caught in glue traps for mice

These are Camel Crickets or Cave Crickets.  They need dark, damp locations to live and reproduce.  Indoors, they are found in basements where they may eat paper and fabric.  Though we don’t normally provide extermination advice, many of our readers ask how to rid their homes of Camel Crickets.  Your photo says it all.

Camel Cricket in Glue Trap

Letter 8 – Camel Cricket appears after Hurricane Florence

Subject:  Insect identification
Geographic location of the bug:  N Myrtle Beach SC
Date: 09/17/2018
Time: 10:24 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hey bug man I came across this insect on the outside wall  of my garage today, after Hurricane Florence had passed. I’ve never seen this before, nor have my local friends. Just curious to find out what it is and perhaps some information on it.
Thanks for any insight
How you want your letter signed:  Maddy

Camel Cricket

Dear Maddy,
This is a Camel Cricket or Cave Cricket, and they are relatively common, though they are generally found in damp, dark places like basements.  Perhaps its home was flooded during the rain brought by Hurricane Florence.

Thank you so much for your rapid response! I’ll have share this with my friends

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.

    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.

    View all posts
Tags: Camel Crickets

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11 Comments. Leave new

  • Camel Cricket edibility
    Though I’ve not read about anyone [meaning, really, any particular culture or group of people] eating camel crickets, from what I’ve seen there are very few Orthoptera that are bad to eat. It may be that these varieties of crickets eat stuff that make them less palatable, and so they’re not the list for that reason. This kind of thing happens with some types of mushroom also.

    Reply
  • I was wondering what these were myself. I had left a bucket out side with a bag full of dog mess (if you know what I mean) and the bucket had about 30 of these funny looking bugs in it. I guess thay liked the food????? Nasty!!!!!

    Reply
  • I tried ’em once. I was impressed, now I actively seek them. I serve them as “choice” insects at events, and most folks come back for seconds and more. Boiled or stir-fried, they’ve got a shrimp-like texture and (using imagination) near-shrimp-taste. Their exoskeletons aren’t nearly as hard as other insects either.

    Reply
  • Jennifer R.
    May 27, 2014 10:58 am

    Now I know what to call them. I just always called them spider crickets because that’s what they looked like to me. I’m am absolutely terrified of these things. When I was little and would stay with my Grandparents I always found them in the bathroom. I don’t know if it was just me and the fact that I was very young but I swear these things were aggressive and chased me. I see one today and head the other way.

    Reply
    • Your comment is amusing. Camel Crickets are perfectly harmless, though they can jump, sometimes great distances, and their appearance can be startling.

      Reply
  • Harmless or not..death to camel crickets!! I hate them ;p

    Reply
  • How do I get rid of them???

    Reply
  • How do I get rid of them

    Reply
  • Paul Landkamer
    February 16, 2016 1:32 pm

    Maybe shouldn’t eat bugs around a dog, or any pet, excrement area. But Camel crickets are quite good. To get rid of them: dry up the environment, and make sure there’s nothing for ’em to eat.

    Reply

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