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Preventing Crickets
this Summer

Q: Does anyone have a way to get rid of crickets? A few are lovely on a summer's night, but, we have hundreds.

Summer before last we had a big tree cut down and ever since, our quiet nights are filled with the cricket racket. I've even found them above the drop ceiling tiles (that one nearly drove me mad).

I don't want to kill them would just like to keep the noise to a low hum.

A: The lovely sound of cricket chatter in summer is a thing to enjoy, but too much of a good thing can certainly get on your nerves. Imagine going to a Mozart opera, but after a while the entire audience starts singing along. What a clatter that would be!

If you do not want to kill the crickets, you must discourage them somehow. Crickets eat almost anything -- insects (dead or alive), fabrics (including silk and wool), just about anything that we eat.

They like compost piles (and garbage), so if you have a compost pile you likely have a cricket hangout (ever seen a cricket in a leather jacket?!). They also like moist areas, so if you have flower beds that you water regularly (or areas where water collects), you are likely attracting crickets.

If you change the conditions, you might reduce your cricket population. If you have a compost pile you would have to decide whether or not to keep it.

If you have flower beds that you water, you would have to decide whether or not to water the flowers and keep the crickets, or change the plantings to something that requires less water.

Crickets often enter the house through crevices, so for some initial inside-the-house cricket control, get out the ol' caulking gun and fill in any gaps where they might gain ingress.

This includes around air conditioning lines, water spouts, gaps between the foundation and siding, and window and door edges.

If "natural control" doesn't work, you can treat the perimeter of the house, or at least the side(s) that activity seems to be the most, with cricket control products that are meant to be used outdoors (never use an outdoor product indoors unless the label says you can).

Some of these products are granular, and you just sprinkle a wide strip (5-10') on the ground around the foundation. The crickets eat the material and soon afterward head for cricket heaven. Other products you spray on the foundation that discourages (and kills) crickets from crossing it.

As you well know, crickets are good jumpers, so you would need to spray a wide enough band on the foundation (3' up or so) so that they can't simply jump over it.

There are numerous indoor products you can use for controlling crickets inside, including sticky traps, sprays and granules. If you have but a few crickets inside the house, the sticky traps and granules are probably all you would need (the sprays are usually for more advanced cases).

ALWAYS follow the instructions on the label of any chemical material you use. This not only maximizes the effectiveness of the material, but tells you the safest way to use the product, including its use if you have pets.

If you have very very few crickets inside the house, you can just use an old tried-and-true method that requires no chemicals or muss or fuss -- the vacuum cleaner.

You might have to take the bag out of the vacuum, though, because your "prisoner" might start chirping that night anyway!

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Expert Arborist Tom Mugridge
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