Crickets are some of the scariest insects as they can jump high and fast, and some species can fly. And the camel cricket (aka spider cricket) is no different. These cricket creatures look like they come out of a sci-fi movie; part spider, part cricket. And they leap toward humans and other creatures they perceive to be threatening. But is this cricket as terrifying as it appears? And let’s discuss the names — camel cricket vs. spider cricket. Why the difference?
Comparing the Camel Cricket vs. Spider Cricket
Camel crickets and spider crickets are the same creatures. Although “spider cricket” is the most well-known name, they are also known as camel crickets. Their official name is Rhaphidophoridae, but people also call them criders, sprikets, cave weta, cave crickets, and camelback crickets.
Camel Cricket Appearance
Camel crickets are a similar color to the camels for which they are named. So, they are either light or dark brown with dark mottling bands on parts of their bodies. A camel cricket has six long legs, but their long antennae often resemble an extra pair of legs. These antenna give them the appearance of spiders. However, their hind legs are longer than the front two pairs of legs, a characteristic of crickets. Camel crickets have a humpback shape which has also led to their name. Additionally, they can grow up to two inches long.
Camel spiders are nocturnal creatures. Unlike other cricket species, they do not make chirping sounds which they often use to attract mates. This is because camel crickets do not have the sound-producing organs that other crickets have. Instead, they emit a scent to attract mates. In addition, camel crickets leap toward humans and other predators when startled. They use this strategy to scare away potential threats rather than being a form of attack. These crickets do not spread disease and cannot bite. But, they can cause damage to houseplants, clothing, and fabrics as they nibble on them.
Camel Cricket Habitat
You will likely find camel crickets in damp, dark environments. In the wild, they live in caves, leaf litter under logs or stones, tree holes, hollow logs, or stacks of firewood. Camel crickets will look for dark areas like crawl spaces. Other favorite habitats include basements, living areas, garages, and storage rooms if they enter a home. Also, these crickets are social and prefer living in groups, and they will congregate in large numbers. This behavior may be scary for a homeowner, as an infestation can form rapidly.
You can find camel crickets all over the U.S. but they are more common in the eastern parts. And while some camel cricket species are native to the U.S., others are not. For example, a North Carolina State University study shows that the greenhouse camel cricket from Asia is the most common species in the U.S. Also, the study shows this species is common in the east of the Mississippi. Lastly, there are over 700 million spider crickets in the eastern U.S.
Camel crickets feed on tubers, fungi, roots, and fruits. These crickets are omnivorous and will eat insects and other camel crickets, including dead camel crickets and the eggs of other insects. When living in homes, camel crickets will chew on fabrics, paper, and almost anything they can come across. This behavior can be a nuisance as the crickets damage property and plants in gardens.
Male camel crickets fight with other males using their hind legs. Their back legs have strongly bent tibia and stout femora with two large spines. They use their spines in combat and to grasp female camel crickets when mating. Because males use these spines to hold females, the male’s mating practice is coercive as they trap unreceptive females.
How To Get Rid of Camel Crickets in Your Home
No matter the time of year, camel crickets would likely prefer living in a home. During the warmer seasons, they seek out cold and damp spaces. However, during the winter, they look for areas that are not too wet or cold. Camel crickets are pests as they invade spaces in your home, breed throughout the year, and often live in large groups. They will also consume wood, cardboard, and fabrics if they have the opportunity.
To prevent camel crickets from getting into your home, you should seal any openings to your home. These openings could be holes and crevices and doors leading into your home. To put in extra measures, we suggest placing a dehumidifier in damp spaces, like the basement. You should also ensure that the garden, garage, and home are clean and not cluttered, as they would be attracted to areas with lots of cover.
If you have camel crickets in your home, there are a few ways to get rid of them. One of the most successful strategies is to place sticky traps where the crickets live. Because camel crickets consume dead crickets, the camel crickets that die on the sticky trap will act as bait for more crickets in the area. If you would like to lay these traps with bait for extra measure, you could use moldy bread or fruit. You could also place bowls of soapy water in the area. Because they find moisture attractive, they might drown in the water if they climb into it.
You could use a strong vacuum cleaner if you prefer a quicker solution. However, once you suck up the camel crickets, you need to empty the vacuum immediately as they can escape, assuming they survive the travel through the vacuum cleaner. You could also call an exterminator who can sort out your camel cricket problem in no time.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Melinda Fawver/Shutterstock.com
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