Camel Crickets

The following questions were sent to the P&PDL diagnosticians here at Purdue University:

Question 1: I hope you can help. I have never seen an insect like this one that exhibits a number of "odd" behaviors. The six-legged creatures favor my wooden shed. They are 1/2 inch in length on average and the body is about 3/8 inch diameter. Two long antennae from the head that are nearly twice the length of the insect and hind legs are extremely developed much like a cricket or grasshopper. However, these creatures appear able to jump EXTREMELY high--several feet (crickets usually jump but several inches and the relatively larger grasshopper makes a jump that is of the magnitude here). The insect is a beige to light brown color with bands or "rings" of a darker (black) color about the body and legs. Another "odd" trait noticed is the "preferred" resting state upside down (clinging to the ceiling of the shed). Whenever I open the door to go in these critters start jumping all over to avoid me or the sunlight. I don't notice any sound whatsoever and wish to know what may be done to discourge these pests from my shed.

Question 2: I wanted to get some information on the control of the camel cricket. My husband and I purchased a 1938 stone home in Nashville, TN. In the past two weeks the basement (also the laundry room) has become infested with these awful creatures. Yes the basement is dark and does hold moisture. What will rid us of these pests, or at least wipe out half of the pack? I would say on any given evening there have been at least15-20 in plain sight...HELP!!!

Answer: It sounds like you are describing camel crickets. Camel crickets are occasional pests indoors, especially in damp, dark basements. When present in large numbers, crickets are a considerable annoyance and can cause damage to some fabrics such as linens and furs.

Satisfactory control of crickets frequently involves chemical treatment both inside and outside the building structure, as well as removal of breeding and feeding sites outdoors and the use of tight-fitting screens and doors. Always read and follow all label directions when using pesticides. If only a few camel crickets are noted throughout the winter, simply remove them by hand.

-Corey Gerber