Crickets in the Texas Panhandle

Field Cricket

Panhandle Bug KillersCharacteristics

Size: Field crickets grow to 1 or 1 1/2 inch long.

Color: Field crickets are black, compared with the tan or light brown house crickets. They have long, thin antennae and long, enlarged hind legs designed for jumping. They also have two large spikes (called cerci) that extend from the back of their abdomens. Adults have wings.

Habits: Field crickets are seen and heard during late summer and fall. They are generally found outdoors, but have been known to invade homes in search of warm hiding places in the colder months. Once indoors, they can cause damage to fabrics, paper, leather, furs and other materials indoors. They also cause tremendous destruction to outdoor landscaping. Field crickets are subject to huge population surges, and may become extremely abundant virtually overnight.

Diet: Field Crickets eat plant material including seeds and small fruits. They also eat both living and dead insects. If they become very hungry, field crickets will cannibalize each other.

Panhandle Bug KillersReproduction: After mating, female field crickets look for damp soil in which to lay their eggs. They inject a needle-like ovipositor deep into the soil to deposit 50 or so eggs. Females lay 150 to 400 eggs over the course of their short life cycle. Eggs hatch in the spring, usually in May. Young crickets are called nymphs. They eat a great deal and grow very quickly, shedding their outer skin about eight times as they mature. Each time they molt, they look more like adults.

Other Information: Field crickets are fully mature at about two months old and begin looking for mates. Males sing and dance to attract females. The song is made by rubbing the front wings together and females hear it through tympanum (eardrums) on their front legs. When a female approaches a male, he does a back and forth courtship dance. Adult and nymphs die when cold weather arrives, but eggs beneath the soil survive to hatch in spring.

House Crickets

Panhandle Bug KillersCharacteristics

Size: House crickets are generally about 1 inch long.

Color: House crickets are light tan or brown and have long, thin antennae and enlarged hind legs for jumping. The adults have wings that are held flat and overlapping on their abdomen. On the head there are three black bands that run side to side.

Habits: House crickets attack all types of material, and often it is synthetic fabrics that are most damaged, although cotton, wool and silk are attacked as well. They also feed on food such as baked goods as well as other organic matter and insects both dead and alive.

Diet: House crickets attack all types of material, and often it is synthetic fabrics that are most damaged, although cotton, wool and silk are attacked as well. They also feed on food such as baked goods as well as other organic matter and insects both dead and alive.

Panhandle Bug KillersReproduction: Females appear to be prolific, producing an average of 730 eggs. The eggs hatch within two to three months. Females use a long narrow structure called an ovipositor to deposit eggs into the ground or other damp material such as sand or peat moss. Adult crickets will often eat their own young and it is normal for some adults to die naturally after mating.

Other Information: House crickets are knows for their characteristic chirping noise. It is only the male cricket that sings and he does so to attract females. When they chirp, crickets rub the teeth on the sharp edge of one wing against a thick, rough scraper on the opposite wing, using it as a bow. As the temperatures rises, their songs become louder and faster.