Where Do Crickets Live: Unveiling Their Natural Habitats

Crickets are fascinating insects often found in various habitats around the world, both outdoors and occasionally indoors. You might have heard their distinctive chirping, especially at night, and wondered where they live.

These insects are related to grasshoppers and katydids, which means they can be commonly found in similar environments, such as fields, forests, and grassy areas. They are particularly attracted to cool, dark, moist, and humid areas, making them “accidental invaders” when they wander into homes and basements from nearby habitats source.

Some crickets you may encounter include field crickets, which have a size ranging from ½ inch to over one inch, and house crickets, which hold their wings flat over their backs and are an inch or less in length source. Both types can be found indoors during cool temperatures and tend to seek out warm, dark places.

Understanding Crickets

Crickets are insects belonging to the family Gryllidae. There are several species of crickets, with most being brown, although some may appear black or even green with whitish wings. The physical characteristics of crickets include long antennae and large back legs for jumping or hopping.

Crickets are commonly found outdoors in fields, lawns, and gardens. They may also be encountered in basements, as seen in the case of field crickets. Another cricket species, the camel or cave cricket, gets its name from its humped appearance when viewed from the side.

Here are the features of crickets:

  • Rounded heads
  • Long, thin antennae
  • Large back legs adapted for jumping

Crickets exhibit interesting behavior:

  • Males chirp by rubbing their wings together
  • Females have a sword-like egg-laying device extending backward from the abdomen tip

When comparing crickets to other insects like katydids, crickets usually appear flatter. To help differentiate between species and understand crickets better, consider these characteristics:

Feature Crickets Katydids
Antennae Long and thin Longer and thicker
Body Shape Flatter Not flattened
Color Brown, black, or green with whitish wings Usually green

By learning about crickets and their habits, you can better appreciate these fascinating insects and their place in your environment.

Physical Characteristics of Crickets

Color and Size

Crickets come in various colors like black, brown, or tan. Their size typically depends on their maturity as adults are bigger than younger ones. For example, house crickets are usually around one inch or less in length, while field crickets can range from ½ inch to over one inch in size. The difference in size between male and female crickets is not significant.

Legs and Wings

Crickets possess some unique features that help them in their habitat. They have long, powerful hind legs adapted for jumping, allowing them to quickly move through their environment. These legs also have stout, unmovable spines to ensure stability. Their wings, on the other hand, can be quite varied. Some species display pointed wings, while others hold their wings flat over their backs. Some crickets can even use their wings for flying, although many species rely more on their jumping abilities.

  • Hind legs: powerful and adapted for jumping
  • Stout, unmovable spines on hind legs
  • Wings: varied in shape, used for flying or held flat over the back

Other Body Features

Crickets exhibit several other body features that play crucial roles in their daily activities. Their long antennae help them navigate their surroundings and communicate with other crickets. In addition, male crickets possess a special organ for producing their characteristic chirping sound, achieved by rubbing their wings together. Female crickets, on the other hand, have a needlelike ovipositor extending outward from their abdomen. This structure is harmless and is used to deposit eggs in an appropriate location.

Remember, when observing crickets, it is easy to distinguish between the males and females just by looking at their body features. Males are the ones creating the familiar cricket sound while the females have the ovipositor extending from their abdomen.

Behavioral Traits

Chirping and Other Sounds

Crickets are fascinating nocturnal insects with unique behavioral traits. One distinguishing feature is their ability to produce sounds, or chirps. Male crickets mainly create these chirps by rubbing their wings together. They possess a specialized structure consisting of a scraper on one wing and a file on the other.

Types of chirps and their purposes:

  • Calling song: Attracts females; usually loud and repetitive
  • Courting song: Used when a receptive female approaches; quieter and has a distinct rhythm
  • Aggressive song: Warns away other males encroaching on their territory

Crickets can produce different songs for different reasons, such as the calling song used to attract females. Chirping frequency varies depending on temperature and other environmental conditions.

Courtship and Mating

When it comes to courtship and mating, crickets exhibit distinct behaviors. Male crickets use their songs to attract females, and once a receptive female approaches, the male will switch to a quieter courting song.

During courtship, you may observe the following behaviors:

  • Male extending and vibrating his wings
  • Female examining the male by touching her antennae to him
  • Male often offering a nuptial gift (food or a spermatophore) to the female to ensure her cooperation during mating

After a successful courtship, the female uses her sword-like egg-laying device, called an ovipositor, to lay her eggs. Keep in mind, cricket behavior may vary depending on the species and environmental factors.

Habitat Preferences

Outdoor Dwellings

Crickets can often be found in various outdoor environments, depending on the species. For field crickets, you’ll likely find them in areas with plenty of vegetation, such as meadows and fields1. Their ideal habitats include:

  • Grasses and bushes
  • Rocks and leaves for shelter
  • Access to shade and moisture

In contrast, tree crickets and bush crickets prefer to dwell higher up in trees and bushes2. They also enjoy:

  • Hiding among the leaves and branches
  • Feeding on vegetation
  • Adequate camouflage

Cave crickets, as their name implies, live in dark and moist areas like caves3. Other common habitats for cave crickets include:

  • Rocks and crevices
  • Underneath logs or debris
  • In shaded, damp locations

Indoor and Human Structures

Sometimes, crickets make their way indoors, particularly house crickets4. They typically prefer:

  • Basements and lower floors
  • Cracks in the foundation or walls
  • Open doors and windows for easy access

Similar to cave crickets, house crickets are also attracted to cool, dark, and moist areas. If you find crickets inside your home, it’s important to seal any cracks or openings and ensure doors and windows fit properly to prevent further invasions.

Dietary Habits

Crickets are omnivorous insects, which means they eat both plant and animal materials. In their natural habitat, crickets typically feed on a variety of items, such as:

  • Ants: Crickets may occasionally feed on ants for protein.
  • Fruit: They enjoy eating fruits for their natural sweetness and nutrients.
  • Seeds: Crickets can consume different types of seeds for additional nourishment.
  • Plant debris: They help in breaking down organic matter by feeding on plant debris.

As pets, crickets are often fed a diet containing:

  • Protein: Essential for their growth and reproduction, can be found in fish meal or soybean meal.
  • Fat: Vital for energy needs, usually supplied by grains and seeds in their diet.

If you’re raising crickets as feed for other pets, it’s important to provide them with a well-balanced diet. Keeping them healthy and nutritious will ensure that your pets get the best quality food. Here’s a comparison of cricket diets, depending on their purpose:

Purpose Diet Components
Natural Habitat Ants, fruit, seeds, plant debris
Pets Balanced feed with protein, fat, and other nutrients
Feed for other animals Balanced diet focusing on nutrient-rich foods

In summary, crickets are versatile eaters that adapt to various environments and food sources. By understanding and providing the right diet, you can contribute to their well-being and the health of the animals they feed.

Life Cycle

Eggs and Nymphs

Crickets usually begin their life cycle during favorable conditions, such as warm temperatures and ample rain. They do this by laying eggs in their preferred habitat. When the eggs hatch, tiny cricket nymphs (also called juveniles) emerge. These nymphs look quite similar to adult crickets, but without wings.

As the nymphs grow, they go through a series of molts, shedding their exoskeleton and developing a new one each time. This is necessary because their exoskeleton does not grow with them, and in order for them to grow, it needs to be replaced. Here are some characteristics of cricket nymphs:

  • Smaller than adults
  • Lack wings
  • Go through several molting stages

Adult Stage and Death

Upon reaching their final molt, crickets become adults with fully formed wings and the ability to mate. Adult crickets are usually more active and can be heard “singing” to attract a mate. Males create this sound by rubbing their wings together. Once a male finds a receptive female, the pair will mate, starting the life cycle once again.

During the winter months, crickets might find it difficult to survive, particularly in colder climates where temperatures become extreme. This is because crickets are ectothermic, which means that they depend on external sources to maintain their body temperature. In these harsh conditions, it is common for crickets to die, concluding their life cycle.

Crickets as Pests

Damage and Annoyance

Crickets, particularly the field cricket and house cricket (Acheta domesticus), can become a nuisance due to their loud chirping and invasion of your living space. They are known to cause damage to various items, such as food, fabric, and plants.

For example, field crickets often feed on your plants or crops, while house crickets can chew on fabrics, causing holes in your clothes or curtains. Additionally, both types of crickets can be quite annoying due to their persistent chirping sounds, which may disrupt your sleep or make it difficult to concentrate.

Pest Control

Managing cricket infestations involves a combination of preventative measures and targeted pest control methods. Here are some steps you can take to keep crickets at bay:

  • Seal any cracks or gaps around your home to prevent them from entering.
  • Remove potential hiding spots, such as piles of rocks or wood, from your yard.
  • Keep your lawn trimmed, as tall grass can provide crickets with shelter.

If crickets still manage to invade your home, consider the following pest control options:

  • Sticky traps: Place these around your home, especially in dark and damp corners, to capture crickets.
  • Natural predators: Encourage the presence of predators like birds or lizards, which can help control cricket populations.
  • Professional pest control: In extreme cases, you may need to call in professional help to manage and eliminate the cricket infestation.

It is essential to address a cricket infestation as soon as possible to minimize damage and annoyance. By taking preventive measures and employing suitable pest control methods, you can effectively keep these unwanted pests at bay.

Crickets in Culture and Economy

Crickets as Pets and Food

Crickets are versatile creatures that have found their way into various aspects of human culture and economy. In captivity, crickets are often kept as pets and even used as a source of food for other animals. For instance, they are fed to reptiles, birds, and other exotic pets. Additionally, crickets are part of the growing trend of edible insects. The United Nations has promoted this practice as a sustainable protein source compared to traditional livestock. Crickets require much less feed, water, and space to produce the same amount of protein as options like cattle, sheep, pigs, and chickens.

Cricket Fighting

Another aspect of cricket culture is the ancient Chinese practice of cricket fighting. This sport has been around for over a thousand years and was even mentioned in early Chinese poetry. In this practice, crickets are pitted against each other based on size and aggressiveness. They’re carefully bred, nurtured, and trained to optimize their fighting abilities. Nowadays, however, cricket fighting is mostly practiced as a traditional sport, and is not as widespread as it was in the past.

Overall, crickets have found unique roles in human culture and economy, from being pets and food sources to participating in traditional sports. Their adaptability and efficiency as a protein source make them a valuable asset in the pursuit of global sustainability.

Footnotes

  1. https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/house-and-field-crickets/

  2. https://extension.umaine.edu/home-and-garden-ipm/fact-sheets/common-name-listing/crickets/

  3. https://extension.umd.edu/resource/crickets

  4. https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g7366

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 – Cricket from Portugal

 

Grasshopper or Cricket?
Location: Portugal
January 23, 2012 6:21 am
Dear WTB,
This little fellow was drowning in the pool… I rescued him and he was very kind to let me take a shot.
He is missing one of his horns.
This was taken in plain Summer, August.
Signature: Diogo Ferreira

Cricket from Portugal

Hi again Diogo,
This is indeed a Cricket, and the coloration is somewhat unusual, but we haven’t had any luck finding any matching photos on the internet.  The web search produced many more hits of the sport with the same name.  What you have called horns are actually sensory organs known as antennae.  Also, we believe your “he” is a she.  Though the depth of field is quite shallow and the rear portion of the body is not clearly visible, it appears that there is a stingerlike ovipositor, the egg laying organ of many insects including Crickets.

Update:  Thanks to Cesar Crash for finding a link to Gryllus campestris, which looks very much like the Cricket in question.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you once again for all of your help.
You’re site is amazing as well as all the detailed information about bugs.
I didn’t realize indeed that it was a she!
Thank’s for all,
Diogo Ferreira

You are welcome Diogo,
Please read Cesar Crash’s comment to this posting on gender and nouns in Portuguese.

Letter 2 – Cricket from Alaska

 

Subject: Please help!
Location: Alaska
December 28, 2013 9:31 am
This was in my bath tub and I’ve never seen this kind of bug before!
Signature: KMB

Cricket
Cricket

Dear KMB,
This is some species of Cricket in the family Gryllidae, and after searching through images on BugGuide, we believe the long pointed wings most closely resemble the characteristics of the Robust Ground Crickets in the genus
Allonemobius.  The dark head and brown wings are also a characteristic we are trying to match.  The image of the Striped Ground Cricket, Allonemobius fasciatus, on PBase is a pretty close match.

Letter 3 – Cricket from Belize

 

Subject: starstuck bug

Location: Toledo District, Belize
December 19, 2014 12:59 pm
Hello again, folks,
I’ve finally got good internet access and can try to send some photos for ID’ing. I haven’t been able to do that for ages.
Hope you have time to ID some of these.
Thanks a lot for a great site, always.
Signature: Tanya

Cricket
Cricket

Hi Tanya,
Your lovely images from Belize are much more interesting than the large number of Carpet Beetle and Brown Marmorated Stink Bug images we get from North America in the winter.  This Cricket reminds us of a North American Handsome Trig, so we suspect it may be in the same subfamily, Trigonidiinae, the Winged Bush Crickets which are profiled on BugGuide.  Again we are going to request assistance from Piotr Naskrecki who confirmed our identification of your Timber Fly.

Hello, Daniel,
Thank you for the encouraging words.  I have some more photos to send of other unknown bugs, but I’m not sure if my internet will send them along.  I’ll try during a lull in the holiday season.
We’ve never seen this cricket before.  It was quite content to sit on the fruit which I had picked, put in a bucket, carried to the counter, taken out of the bucket and was ready to wipe and bag.  Glad I got some decent photos before setting the cricket back outdoors.
Happy holidays.
Tanya

Letter 4 – Cricket from South Africa is Raaskriek

 

Subject: Cricket insect
Location: Near Loskopdam, Mpumalanga, South Africa
January 7, 2014 9:57 am
What is this crickets name. We saw it one summer night on my fathers farm near Loskopdam, Mpumalanga, South Africa. The cricket can jump and fly and has holes in the grass where it lives during the day. The cricket is more or less 3 to 5cm long.
Signature: email

Cricket
Raaskriek

We believe this is a Cricket in the family Gryllidae based on comparisons between your individual and this image on ISpot, a website devoted to sharing photos of nature in South Africa.  We would urge you to post your images there as well if you would like a more specific identification or a correction.  The colors and markings on your individual seem unique and distinctive, and our attempts to find any similar looking Crickets online did not prove fruitful.  Your attachments were named “Kriek” and we are wondering if that is a local word for Cricket.

Update:  November 24, 2014
We just posted a new image that we have identified as a Giant Burrowing Cricket or Raaskriek in the genus Brachytrupes thanks to iSpot and this critter looks the same.

Letter 5 – Cricket from South Africa is Raaskriek

 

Subject: Help identifying a cricket
Location: Ballito, Kwazulunatal, South Africa
November 22, 2014 11:10 am
Hi,
Could you please help me identify this cricket? It was very large!
Signature: Jarrod

Cricket
Raaskriek

Dear Jarrod,
Your individual looks identical to this Cricket from South Africa we posted early this year.  We never positively identified that individual.  We would check iSpot, our best site for South African identifications, but that site is currently unavailable.

Update:  Raaskriek
Now that iSpot is back online, we are pretty confident that your Cricket is a Raaskriek or Giant Burrowing Cricket in the genus
Brachytrupes.  We can also update our earlier posting with that information.

 

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 – Cricket from Portugal

 

Grasshopper or Cricket?
Location: Portugal
January 23, 2012 6:21 am
Dear WTB,
This little fellow was drowning in the pool… I rescued him and he was very kind to let me take a shot.
He is missing one of his horns.
This was taken in plain Summer, August.
Signature: Diogo Ferreira

Cricket from Portugal

Hi again Diogo,
This is indeed a Cricket, and the coloration is somewhat unusual, but we haven’t had any luck finding any matching photos on the internet.  The web search produced many more hits of the sport with the same name.  What you have called horns are actually sensory organs known as antennae.  Also, we believe your “he” is a she.  Though the depth of field is quite shallow and the rear portion of the body is not clearly visible, it appears that there is a stingerlike ovipositor, the egg laying organ of many insects including Crickets.

Update:  Thanks to Cesar Crash for finding a link to Gryllus campestris, which looks very much like the Cricket in question.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you once again for all of your help.
You’re site is amazing as well as all the detailed information about bugs.
I didn’t realize indeed that it was a she!
Thank’s for all,
Diogo Ferreira

You are welcome Diogo,
Please read Cesar Crash’s comment to this posting on gender and nouns in Portuguese.

Letter 2 – Cricket from Alaska

 

Subject: Please help!
Location: Alaska
December 28, 2013 9:31 am
This was in my bath tub and I’ve never seen this kind of bug before!
Signature: KMB

Cricket
Cricket

Dear KMB,
This is some species of Cricket in the family Gryllidae, and after searching through images on BugGuide, we believe the long pointed wings most closely resemble the characteristics of the Robust Ground Crickets in the genus
Allonemobius.  The dark head and brown wings are also a characteristic we are trying to match.  The image of the Striped Ground Cricket, Allonemobius fasciatus, on PBase is a pretty close match.

Letter 3 – Cricket from Belize

 

Subject: starstuck bug

Location: Toledo District, Belize
December 19, 2014 12:59 pm
Hello again, folks,
I’ve finally got good internet access and can try to send some photos for ID’ing. I haven’t been able to do that for ages.
Hope you have time to ID some of these.
Thanks a lot for a great site, always.
Signature: Tanya

Cricket
Cricket

Hi Tanya,
Your lovely images from Belize are much more interesting than the large number of Carpet Beetle and Brown Marmorated Stink Bug images we get from North America in the winter.  This Cricket reminds us of a North American Handsome Trig, so we suspect it may be in the same subfamily, Trigonidiinae, the Winged Bush Crickets which are profiled on BugGuide.  Again we are going to request assistance from Piotr Naskrecki who confirmed our identification of your Timber Fly.

Hello, Daniel,
Thank you for the encouraging words.  I have some more photos to send of other unknown bugs, but I’m not sure if my internet will send them along.  I’ll try during a lull in the holiday season.
We’ve never seen this cricket before.  It was quite content to sit on the fruit which I had picked, put in a bucket, carried to the counter, taken out of the bucket and was ready to wipe and bag.  Glad I got some decent photos before setting the cricket back outdoors.
Happy holidays.
Tanya

Letter 4 – Cricket from South Africa is Raaskriek

 

Subject: Cricket insect
Location: Near Loskopdam, Mpumalanga, South Africa
January 7, 2014 9:57 am
What is this crickets name. We saw it one summer night on my fathers farm near Loskopdam, Mpumalanga, South Africa. The cricket can jump and fly and has holes in the grass where it lives during the day. The cricket is more or less 3 to 5cm long.
Signature: email

Cricket
Raaskriek

We believe this is a Cricket in the family Gryllidae based on comparisons between your individual and this image on ISpot, a website devoted to sharing photos of nature in South Africa.  We would urge you to post your images there as well if you would like a more specific identification or a correction.  The colors and markings on your individual seem unique and distinctive, and our attempts to find any similar looking Crickets online did not prove fruitful.  Your attachments were named “Kriek” and we are wondering if that is a local word for Cricket.

Update:  November 24, 2014
We just posted a new image that we have identified as a Giant Burrowing Cricket or Raaskriek in the genus Brachytrupes thanks to iSpot and this critter looks the same.

Letter 5 – Cricket from South Africa is Raaskriek

 

Subject: Help identifying a cricket
Location: Ballito, Kwazulunatal, South Africa
November 22, 2014 11:10 am
Hi,
Could you please help me identify this cricket? It was very large!
Signature: Jarrod

Cricket
Raaskriek

Dear Jarrod,
Your individual looks identical to this Cricket from South Africa we posted early this year.  We never positively identified that individual.  We would check iSpot, our best site for South African identifications, but that site is currently unavailable.

Update:  Raaskriek
Now that iSpot is back online, we are pretty confident that your Cricket is a Raaskriek or Giant Burrowing Cricket in the genus
Brachytrupes.  We can also update our earlier posting with that information.

 

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.

  • 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.

11 thoughts on “Where Do Crickets Live: Unveiling Their Natural Habitats”

  1. Just a curiosity: In Portuguese, every cricket, grasshopper or beetle is HE, and every ant, moth or butterfly is SHE. It’s not the sex of the animal, it is the sex of the noun (!?). Wall is he, floor is she, sky is he, earth is she. It is a little hard for us to get used to say IT for animals, and much more hard for people who speak English to learn which noun is male or female.

    Reply
  2. Its a male of gryllus campestris, you can find in the Iberic peninsula 2 variations of gryllus campestris, the first is the shown in the Photo, you can find it in the mid and south of the peninsula, His lower wins are longer than the upside wins so you can think that it was the ovipositor but it is not, In the other variant the lower wins are shorter and are not possible to see behind the upside wins. You can find it in mid and north part of peninsula iberica. The female has not yellow colour in the wins in any both kinds. Thank you for this good photo.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for your comment. The information about the wings taking on the appearance of an ovipositor is fascinating.

      Reply
  3. That same cricket is popular even in uganda.
    It has no harm only that it defends it’s self by beating and kicking using behind legs.
    It’s eaten by children in Uganda

    Reply
  4. That same cricket is popular even in uganda.
    It has no harm only that it defends it’s self by beating and kicking using behind legs.
    It’s eaten by children in Uganda

    Reply

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