Crickets are very common yard insects and very few people think of them as dangerous. This doesn’t mean that they’re entirely harmless, begging many questions about the relationship between crickets, humans, and pets.
To avoid any health issues caused by insect bites (which can actually be problematic), I’m here to set the record straight by addressing commonly asked cricket-related questions. These include – do crickets bite, whether are they harmful, whether can they harm pets, do crickets carry diseases, and how to get rid of them.
Do Crickets Bite or Sting
Since so many insects have stingers, most people don’t find it clear what crickets use to defend themselves. Crickets, in fact, have teeth and they bite – they don’t sting.
Do Crickets Have Teeth
Crickets have teeth, but they’re different from human teeth. Their teeth are called mandibles – these are appendages near the mouth used for chewing and for defense.
Just like grasshoppers, crickets have large and pincer-shaped mandibles. They can cut large pieces of leaves with the help of seven mandibular muscles.
Do Crickets Have a Stinger
No, crickets don’t have a stinger. They do, however, have an ovipositor that looks very similar to a stinger. The ovipositor is a body part used to lay eggs in the ground.
This body part is often confused for a stinger, but crickets do not sting.
Are Crickets Harmful to People
A cricket’s bite isn’t harmful to people. However, crickets can be carriers of diseases, which is a more significant threat to health – more on this below.
Crickets only bite if they’re distressed and cornered. For example, if you catch a cricket and hold it in your fist, it will most likely bite you. These bites are momentarily sharp, but the pain won’t last for long.
Since the mandibles of cricket are designed to rip leaves apart – they can’t cut through the skin. The bite is as painful as a strong pinch and you’ll likely forget about it after a few minutes.
Do Crickets Bite Dogs or Cats
Since pets, especially cats, love to play with lizards, mice, and insects they find in the yard, it’s likely that cricket will bite back at some point. However, these bites are not dangerous to your pet.
The worst thing that can happen is that they develop a mild reaction on the surface of the skin. This is usually a reaction to the bite of a disease-carrying cricket. However, this is nothing to worry about and your vet will take care of it easily.
Do Crickets Bite Reptiles or Other Pets
If you have a lizard, a snake, or a frog – the opposite is actually more likely. Lizards and frogs mostly feed on insects in the wild, while the same can be said for small snake species.
Crickets don’t pose a serious danger to reptiles and other pets. These tiny insects are mostly defenseless and biting truly is the last resort for them – they’ll rather rely on camouflage and evasion methods than biting.
What Diseases Do Crickets Carry?
The most dangerous bacteria you can get from crickets are Escherichia Coli, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Salmonella. Most wild animals are carriers of some pathogens and there’s a possibility that you’ll get infected with something if you come in contact with them.
However – it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get infected with anything because of a cricket’s bite. Since they can’t penetrate the skin, the most likely result of a cricket’s bite is a painful spot for a few minutes.
It’s possible for a rash to develop, in which case you should visit the doctor. Anything more than that, such as the transmission of Escherichia Coli, is possible, but highly unlikely.
In order for bacteria to infect you, they would have to physically get into your body. Since crickets can’t bite through the skin, they can’t directly transmit bacteria. However, if you open up the wound by scratching it, bacteria can enter your body and cellulitis may develop.
This is why it’s generally recommended not to scratch insect bites – simply apply a balm for the itchiness and leave it alone.
What Does a Cricket Bite Look Like
There’s usually nothing to see because it’s highly unlikely that cricket will bite through the skin, and their bite leaves no mark. You could develop minor swelling similar to a mosquito’s bite, but usually not much more than that.
Symptoms Of A Cricket Bite
If you do experience the sting of a cricket bite you should remain calm and watch for any symptoms. You’ll most likely notice nothing as there’ll be nothing to notice – in the majority of cases, cricket bites require no medical attention.
If superficial symptoms develop, you should visit a doctor. In case you’re the one-in-a-million unlucky individual to actually get a bacterial infection from cricket, you might not even notice it at first.
Let’s say you were bitten by a cricket and now you’re developing fever and nausea. You’re most likely suffering from cellulitis, which is an infection caused by bacteria entering the skin. But as previously explained, this isn’t caused by the cricket’s bite, but by the scratching that followed.
Symptoms of cellulitis include fevers, chills, fatigue, nausea, and skin irritation (redness, swelling, blisters, and pus discharge).
Cellulitis can most often be cured with a simple course of antibiotics, while only the most extreme cases require hospitalization.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms after a cricket bite (or any bite for that matter), you should seek medical assistance from a doctor.
Do Crickets’ Bites Hurt?
Speaking from personal experience – yes, they do hurt a little, but not for long. A cricket’s bite hurts like a very strong pinch (imagine someone pinched you with pliers).
However, the pain subsides very quickly and you forget all about it. Although there are no long-term effects, it’s at first surprising to think that such a small creature can inflict any pain at all.
How To Get Rid of Crickets
Although they mostly aren’t a danger to people and pets, crickets can pose a problem for the plants in your yard. Let’s take a look at a few methods of cricket management.
Remove Crickets From Your House
There’s really no other way to remove a cricket from your house other than catching them and throwing them outside. It’s much easier to catch them with glass than by hand and you’ll also be protecting yourself from bites.
If you have trouble finding them, follow their chirping at night. You can also set up bait – crickets love molasses mixed in water.
Get Rid of Crickets in Your Yard
Managing crickets in the yard is much more difficult than managing them in your house. Crickets can cause lawn damage as they’re a digging species. They’ll make your lawn their home and feed on both plant and animal life in your yard.
You can recognize a cricket infestation by tiny mounds of soil found in the garden.
To get rid of crickets in the yard, you’ll have to combine several methods. Insecticides are widely recommended, but their application has to be timely. It’s best to apply them in June and July as the crickets are still young and easy to kill.
Watering the lawn well will also prevent the crickets from nesting in your yard – they dig easily through dry soil, but well-watered soil is an entirely different story.
On top of lawn maintenance and insecticides, you can also use cricket baits. These can be found in home and maintenance stores and they’re usually effective.
How To Prevent Crickets From Getting In Your House
Here are the best cricket prevention methods for keeping your house clear of them.
- Caulk Your Windows – crickets, just like most insects, can crawl through tight spaces. If you caulk your windows, you’re making sure that there’s no loose space for them to squeeze through. It’s also best to close all windows and doors at all times unless you have insect screens.
- Turn Off The Lights – all insects are attracted to lights. If you turn them off, your home instantly becomes less interesting to crickets.
- Keep Food and Vegetation Away – if you leave pet food in the kitchen next to an open window, all animals in your yard will sense it. Vegetation on the porch or a terrace can be used as a breeding site for crickets, so it’s best to keep it away from the door.
- Attract Natural Predators – cats are the best natural predators (at least when it comes to pets) of crickets. They’ll kill both indoor and outdoor crickets. Birds and lizards also feed on them, but they’re much more difficult to control.
Verdict: Do Crickets Bite
Crickets are biting insects and they will bite if they’re provoked. However, their mandibles are too weak to puncture the skin, so most bites only cause temporary pain.
In rare occurrences, a bite can cause a skin reaction, usually in the form of a rash. In even rarer occurrences, bacteria can be transmitted (usually when the bitten spot is scratched and opened), but this is truly extremely rare.
To keep crickets away from the yard, regular application of insecticides is needed, as well as regular watering and the use of cricket bait. To prevent crickets from invading your home, you have to caulk all windows and keep food away from windows, as it attracts animals.