Crickets in Your Garden or Vegetable Plot? 16 Essential Things to Know

Keeping your garden free of rabbits and deer can feel like enough of a challenge without bringing insects into the mix. However, if you start hearing more cricket chirps than usual and notice an uptick in small holes in your crop’s leaves and fruit, you may have to consider that crickets in your garden could be a problem.

How to Identify Crickets In Your Garden

Crickets are six-legged insects that primarily move by jumping, although they have four wings. They’re smaller than grasshoppers, ranging from 0.12 – 2 inches long. Unlike grasshoppers, which can have yellow or green coloring, crickets almost always have a darker exoskeleton.

What Do Cricket Eggs Look Like?

Cricket eggs have an elongated, white to off-white appearance that resembles grains of rice. They have a shiny, waxy texture. Crickets lay their eggs in large quantities, but the eggs themselves are small. So, you’ll need to bend down and have a good look to tell if there are cricket eggs.

Often, crickets lay their eggs in the soil since the eggs need a dark and moist area to incubate. However, they may also lay their eggs inside crevices in your garage or home walls. 

What Do Baby Crickets Look Like?

Baby crickets, called nymphs, can be black or brown in color depending on their species. They resemble adult crickets at birth, with two long antennae jutting out from their head and two smaller antenna-like features coming from behind. 

However, unlike adult crickets, they don’t have wings, developing them later after birth. Often, baby crickets have alternating darker and lighter stripes across their head. A nymph remains in its baby form for approximately one month. During this time, it molts eight to ten times, which is when it develops wings. 

What Do Crickets Drink and Eat?

Crickets require water to survive, and they typically seek out water through dew and droplets of rain on plants or in small puddles, as they tend to drown easily. As omnivores, crickets consume various types of fruits, vegetables, and meats.

Do Crickets Eat Grass?

Crickets enjoy eating grass, but you likely won’t see them put a dent in your lawn unless you live in an area with a dense population of crickets. However, not only will crickets eat blades of grass, but they’ll also consume grass seeds and young shoots, which is where they do the most damage to lawns.

Mole crickets are a cricket breed that lives beneath the soil and can be especially hazardous to your lawn. They’re experts at digging shallow tunnels underground and chewing on roots and stems.

Do Crickets Eat Lettuce?

Crickets love eating leafy greens, including lettuce. They’re not picky about the quality of lettuce; they’ll even eat wilted and rotting greens. While you will not appreciate crickets eating the lettuce in your garden, lettuce offers them a rich source of nutrients.

Crickets receive several health benefits by eating lettuce, including high levels of potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin K. To prevent crickets from eating the lettuce in your garden, you may need to apply an insecticide. 

Do Crickets Eat Tomatoes?

Crickets will happily eat fresh and rotting tomatoes, so it’s common to find them climbing up your tomato where they will be nibbling on your tomato’s leaves and stems. Because of their high water content, tomatoes help crickets stay hydrated. Eating tomatoes is especially beneficial for crickets as they may avoid drinking from a larger body of water where they could drown.

Similar to humans, tomatoes are a healthy part of a cricket’s diet. They contain antioxidants to promote healthy cell function and folate, which helps their tissues grow. If you don’t want to use insecticides on your tomatoes, you can place mesh with small holes over your tomato plants instead.

Do Crickets Eat Carrots?

Carrots are a healthy part of a cricket’s diet. Crickets will often eat the green tops of carrots growing in gardens. They’ll also snack on the carrot by burrowing themselves underneath the ground. Carrots contain high levels of vitamin A, fiber, and antioxidants, making them an excellent part of this pest’s diet.

Because crickets can attack carrots from above and beneath the ground, using an insecticide is often the most effective technique at keeping them away from your plants. However, if you prefer a more natural approach, you can mix hot chili powder with some water and a dab of dish soap and apply the solution to your garden.

Are Crickets Harmful?

Crickets aren’t notorious for carrying deadly diseases like the Zika virus or rabies. However, parasites and other bacteria prey on crickets, meaning trouble for you or your pet if you don’t take proper sanitation measures. Let’s take a closer look at how crickets can be harmful.

Are Crickets Poisonous?

Crickets aren’t poisonous. They can be a nuisance, destroying your garden and home, but you don’t have to worry about them poisoning you through a bite. In fact, while crickets can bite, they rarely bite humans.

Because crickets are not poisonous, people can eat them. Cricket eating dates back hundreds, if not thousands of years. Indigenous groups like the Aztecs using them to add protein to their bread. To this day, you can find fried crickets at street markets in Mexico and other locations.

Can Crickets Cause Disease in Humans?

Crickets carry diseases, but they’re rarely fatal to humans. Most commonly, crickets transfer diseases to humans via physical contact with the insect itself or its feces. Crickets can carry both parasites and diseases in their fecal matter, including E. coli and salmonella. 

Crickets can also release worms through their feces. Therefore, if you touch a cricket, it’s possible to get skin sores due to the parasites and diseases it carries. Furthermore, if you don’t thoroughly wash your hands after handling a cricket, you could transfer those bacteria and parasites to your food.

Can Crickets Hurt Dogs?

Crickets don’t typically hurt dogs, and they’ll almost always try to hop away from your active pet. If your dog takes an interest in a cricket and eats it, most likely, nothing will happen. However, there is a possibility that your dog may react by vomiting.

If the cricket your dog consumes has a parasite, such as the physaloptera larvae, it can give your dog a stomach ache, leaving them feeling nauseous and vomiting. Your vet will be able to take a fecal test to see if a potentially cricket-born parasite is the issue so they can treat your dog accordingly.

How Do Crickets Get in the House?

Between their small size and excellent climbing skills, crickets can enter your house via gaps in doors, cracks in your foundation, vents, or any other opening they find. If they plan to lay eggs in your house, they’ll look for a dark, moist climate. Otherwise, they’ll remain in areas of your home that are hot and dry. 

Can Crickets Climb Walls?

Crickets are excellent climbers and can easily climb walls. Most cricket species also have wings, but they prefer climbing or jumping rather than flying. However, certain species, such as the Jerusalem cricket, can’t fly, so it relies on climbing for survival.

It’s essential to keep your walls and doors free of cracks to prevent crickets from climbing into an open space and entering your home.

Can Crickets Climb Plastic Surfaces?

It’s easy for crickets to climb plastic and other smooth, slippery surfaces. The reason being is that they have many hairs on the sticky pads of their legs. That creates an adhesive suction that lets them grip onto plastic, even when they’re in a vertical position.

The hairs on a cricket’s feet are called arolia. These hairs aren’t unique to crickets, as many insects have this feature, allowing them to outrun prey who can’t use their claws to get a grip on slippery surfaces.

Can Crickets Come Through Vents?

Vents are an accessible method for crickets to come and go from your home. Crickets can be as small as 0.12 inches, with the largest ones still only reaching two inches. Therefore, crickets of essentially any age and species can sneak in through an unmaintained vent.

It’s essential to regularly check the metal wire or fiberglass mesh on your vents to prevent crickets from entering your home.

Can Crickets Do Damage to Your House?

Crickets can cause significant damage to a home because of their destructive eating habits. They can eat the fabric on your furniture and clothes, chew on your leather shoes, and dine on your wood furniture. 

Crickets will also eat rubber and carpet, all while leaving behind a trail of droppings that can carry parasites and bacteria. Therefore, if you have a hunch that you have a cricket infestation in your home, it’s time to call the exterminator. 

Wrap Up

Crickets are small, but they can wreak havoc on gardens and homes if you don’t take the proper measures. If you start noticing signs of cricket destruction in your garden, you must take action to mitigate them; otherwise, you risk heavy damage to your garden and your house.