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Crickets are insects that belong to the order Orthoptera. Crickets are an important part of the ecosystem since they help in the breakdown of plant material. They are also an important source of food for other animals like small owls, spiders, birds, mice, shrews, snakes, frogs, raccoons and opossums.

Crickets are generally brown or black in color, have antennae which is as long as the distance from the head to the end of the abdomen and have two kinds of wings: front wings covering nearly the entire abdomen and hind wings that are folded and hidden under the front wings. However, some species of crickets may not have wings at all.

There are many species of crickets: house crickets, field crickets, ground crickets, cave crickets, mole crickets, snowy tree cricket and mole crickets. Crickets live outdoors in open spaces like meadows, pastures and roads. In winter, they go under rocks or logs or inside buildings to escape the cold. They are nocturnal and are very active during the night. Crickets are omnivores and feed on almost anything, usually organic materials, plant decay, grass, fruits, seedling plants, fungi and even meat.

Man has always been fascinated by crickets. Some people even have crickets as pets. The most interesting thing about crickets is the sound they make. They have a unique chirp which many people find attractive. This chirp is actually a way of communication. Crickets make many different kinds of sounds depending on the purpose: a calling note indicating that defense of their territory, an aggressive chirp symbolizing other male intruders to move away, and a quieter call which announces their presence to deaf females. Female crickets are deaf and they can identify males from the smell that emanates from under the wings of the male. Crickets produce the sound by rubbing their forewings against each other. In fact, crickets have gained their name from the French word “Criquer”, which means little creaker.

Crickets are reared and used as bait for fishes and as food for some pets. The Chinese also use crickets in medicines. They are popularly used as a sport like cock fights. Crickets are also believed to bring luck. Crickets are very easy to rear. However, crickets can be real pests, especially because the chirping may get very irritating. Crickets also cause damage to plants, seeds of grain crop, stored tubers and fruits, and baler twine. When they enter the house, they can damage clothing, furniture upholstery, draperies etc. since they are very fond of cotton, silk, wool and even rayon and nylon. They also eat paper products.

Crickets can be controlled by using some insecticides like bendiocarb (Ficam D), chlorpyrifos (Dursban, Duration, Empire, and Engage), diatomaceous earth (Answer), propoxur (Baygon), diazinon, pyrethrins, or resmethrin. Drione or Boric Acid and other dust products can be used to treat wall voids and crawl spaces. Granular bait like Larvalur or Niban can also be used indoors and outdoors. Some common outdoor insecticides that can be used are; cyfluthrin (Tempo), cypermethrin (Demon, Cynoff, Cyper-Active), Ficam W or Plus, propetamphos (Safrotin) lambdacyhalothrin (Commadore), or permethrin (Dragnet, Flee).

Source by Josh Riverside

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