Fix-It Chick: Keep problematic cricket populations under control

photo by: Shutterstock Photo

Crickets, like the one pictured above, can cause problems by eating vegetables, paper and cloth.

Several cultures believe it is good luck to have a cricket in your home, but too much of a good thing, especially crickets, can cause problems. Crickets eat vegetation, paper and cloth. Keeping the cricket population under control both in and out of your home is a good idea.

Step 1: Keep crickets and other pests outside where they belong by sealing up entry points around the home. Replace door sweeps and thresholds on exterior doors, storm doors and screen doors. Use caulk to fill gaps and crevices around windows and doors. Repair foundation cracks. Seal around garage doors. Fix loose or rotting siding and trim.

Step 2: Clean gutters and direct water away from the home’s foundation.

Step 3: Crickets like damp, dark areas. Eliminate nesting spots by clearing away debris, wood and other materials around the exterior of the home. Remove boxes and clutter from basement and garage floors. Put trash cans and outdoor storage containers up on bricks to allow air to flow beneath them.

Step 4: Keep weeds pulled and grass mowed. Reduce ground cover near the foundation of the home. Rake up leaves and debris. Trim away lower branches on bushes and shrubs.

Step 5: Plant nitrogen-fixing plants such as peas, beans, and clover to repel crickets naturally. Cilantro, calendula and horehound can also keep crickets away.

Step 6: Crickets are nocturnal, and light is a huge attractant for them. Eliminate or reduce exterior lighting. Use amber or yellow lightbulbs in outdoor fixtures when possible to dissuade production of additional pests.

Step 7: Install some bird feeders. Birds, lizards and various harmless spiders are all natural predators of crickets. Cats also do a wonderful job controlling cricket populations; even though their hunting of crickets is usually just for sport, the results are the same.

Step 8: Sprinkle diatomaceous earth inside and outside the home. These finely ground aquatic fossils are harmless to pets and people but do a wonderful job eliminating crickets, fleas, ants and many other pests. A thin sprinkling around the exterior of the home will absorb oils and fats from the exoskeleton of any hard shell creature that crosses over it, causing the insects to dry up and die.

Step 9: Use flat sticky traps and glue boards to catch offending crickets. Sprinkle a little corn meal on the boards to help attract crickets to the trap.

— Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at hardware@sunflower.com.

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