What Is A Cave Cricket?
What Is a Cave Cricket?
Although you don’t need to live in a cave to encounter one of these creepy not-so-little buggers, you probably found one lurking about in your garage or basement and it scared the wits out of you. Don’t be alarmed just yet because there is a remedy, but first you want to know what they are and how they found you. After all, you don’t live in a cave! Actually, that may be their natural habitat but they will go anywhere the food is and once you’ve read the following information you’ll know why they chose your house and what you can do to rid yourself of these little monsters, hopefully once and for all.
A Cave Cricket by Any Other Name…
Most often referred to as a ‘cave cricket’ you will also hear them referred to as a camel cricket or even a spricket. Since they look much like a spider with their long, long legs, it is easy to understand how the name ‘spricket’ came about. But, camel cricket? It is unclear why they are called that except perhaps for their color which is much like that of a camel but they certainly don’t have three humps on their backs! You may also hear them called:
- Spider crickets
- Criders (another variation of spider cricket along with spricket)
- Land shrimp
- Sand treaders
- Cave weta (as you may commonly hear them called in New Zealand)
- Camelback crickets
These are subspecies of Rhaphidophoridae orthopteran family of insects, but that’s something you probably never wanted to know and still don’t. You just want to know how to get them out of your basement or wood piles. Right? Don’t worry, there’s hope yet. But, there are some other things you may want to know first.
Where Cave Crickets Live and What They Eat
Basically, these scary little creatures that are almost blind actually do thrive in caves or anywhere that is damp and dark and musty with algae as most caves tend to be. However, given that there are few caves left in populated areas this side of the Neanderthal or Cro-Magnon eras, who’s to tell? There may still be some cave dwellers out there who aren’t reporting infestations because their internet is down at the moment.
No one knows for sure, but what is known is that cave crickets love caves because they are a natural source of their all-time favorite food. You’ve got it! Algae, a delectable fungus that keeps those large rear legs strong enough to give them that Olympian jump that scared the pants off you in the first place.
So then, given that there aren’t many caves around, cave crickets aka camel crickets love to hide out in:
- Wood piles
- Newspaper piles
- Exterior logs and fallen trees
And, they eat just about anything they can get their disgusting little mouths on (except you that is, they don’t bite humans) including the algae growing on the above, carpets and any fungi they can find lurking about the damp, dark areas of your home. That’s why they’re there after all – food! Where would you go if you were hungry?
How to Get Rid of Cave Crickets the Right Way
Some people suggest leaving bowls of soapy water around their basement because the water attract a cave cricket. The theory is that they hop into the water and drown. The soap is to help melt the waxy coating that gives camel crickets that infamous shine, which in turn makes them sink and drown quicker. Does it work? Maybe a little over a long period of time but by then you have dozens of babies creeping out to take the place of the few you’ve lured to your death-by-drowning bowl.
You will find almost as many self-help ways to rid yourself of these pests but none are as thorough as a professional extermination. They are, after all, an insect and you just can’t get products that are powerful enough to do a complete extermination without a license. That’s a given. However, once the job is done you can do a few things to keep them from coming back again.
The first thing you can do is get rid of all that excess moisture that is allowing fungi to grow in the first place. If there are leaks allowing water into your basement, plug them up. Some homeowners get powerful dehumidifiers to keep the moisture levels to a minimum and others do a thorough house-cleaning. Get rid of any stacks of old newspapers, excess carpeting that is just lying about and for heaven’s sake, find somewhere else to stack your wood for next winter. A cave cricket loves to live and breed in wood that’s still damp and getting damper during the rainy season.
When all is said and done, cave crickets are like any other insect and will simply move back in again if proper precautions aren’t taken to avoid luring them back. As mentioned, simply keep your home clear of anything likely to attract them and that’s half the battle. Since keeping your basement dry and warm is probably going to be a losing battle, the only truly effective way to prevent a re-infestation is to hire periodic professional pest control services.
A Final Word of Caution
Don’t forget to tell your exterminator if any children or pets will be playing in or near areas where these creatures dwell. Some products do pose a threat to humans and animals, so it is always better to be safe than sorry.Only a professional exterminator can tell you with any amount of certainty what is safe and what is not. That’s why extermination is always better left in the hands of a pro.
This non-toxic spray kills larvae, eggs, and adult insects by breaking down their exoskeleton. It is safe to spray around the home and works only on the insects. Feel good about spraying indoors around pets, plants and children.
All Natural Non Toxic Insect Killer Spray by Killer Green