Conditions just right for cricket invasion
Chirp, chirp. Chirp, chirp. Oklahomans have been hearing plenty of chirping going on lately as field crickets are taking advantage of the weather conditions and spreading like wildfire.
"These outbreaks seem to occur after periods of prolonged dry weather in spring and early summer followed by rainfall in July and August," said Rick Grantham, director of the Plant Disease and Insect Diagnostic Lab in Oklahoma State University's Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. "Extensive soil cracking may be an important factor."
The current conditions provide good sites for egg deposition, an abundance of favorable food, vegetation for shelter and a scarcity of parasites and predators may also be involved. Crickets will feed on almost anything and occasionally damage alfalfa, cotton, strawberries, vegetables and ornamentals.
Additionally, they will be drawn indoors by lights and sometimes damage fabrics, wood, plastic, rubber and leather goods.
"Crickets commonly spend the daylight hours hiding in dark, damp areas. Eliminating piles of bricks, stones, wood or other debris around the home will help reduce numbers," Grantham said. "Weeds and dense vegetation around the foundations of homes are other good hiding places."
Trash dumps provide both food and shelter for crickets and should be cleaned out. Eliminating light sources at night and ensuring there are tights seals around all doors and windows will reduce the number of crickets inside a house or business.
"Adult crickets can be difficult to control," he said. "Inside homes or buildings, ready-to-use sprays or aerosols applied to baseboards, door thresholds and cracks and crevices where crickets hide will normally control them."
Also, it is helpful to spray outside around the foundation and nearby areas to prevent crickets from moving inside.