Would you believe that you can actually determine the temperature by counting the chirps of a cricket? Crickets can detect even the slightest change in temperature and this is reflected in the rate at which they “chirp” or sing. The temperature in degrees Fahrenheit is equal to the number of chirps per minute, minus 92, divided by 4.7. Crickets sing both in the day and in the night. They sing to defend their territory and to attract females.
There are 96 different species of crickets that may be found throughout the U.S. and Canada. Three species that we commonly find in our yards, fields, gardens and even in our homes are; the field cricket, the ground cricket and the house cricket.
In general, crickets are shiny and are blackish to brownish in color. They range in size from ½ to one inch in length. They have rather large, spiny hind legs and antennae that are long and thread-like. Crickets lay their small white eggs in moist soil, in cracks and crevices and sometimes in slits in plant tissue. Field crickets lay about 150-400 eggs each. House crickets lay about 50-150 eggs each. When the eggs hatch, it takes young nymphs about 9-14 weeks to develop into adults.
In the Northern part of their range they pass the winter in the egg stage and have only one generation each year. In the Southern part of their range they remain active all year round and may have as many as three generations each year.
All crickets prefer to stay out of doors, but they will enter buildings, especially in the winter, when the weather is cold. Crickets feed on plant matter and they are generally just a nuisance pest. They are occasionally found in damaging numbers in fields and gardens. In the home they will feed on wool clothing, carpets and paper.
Crickets are attracted to lights and on occasion gather in great numbers around lighted signs and buildings, covering lighted walls and stacking up on sidewalks. Some species have been raised commercially, for decades, to be sold as fish bait.