Camel Crickets Cave Cricket
Sand Treader Mormon Cricket
Animals and Pests General
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Crickets, or "True Crickets" are related to grasshoppers but more closely related to
Katydids or bush crickets because they have slightly flattened bodies and long antennae. Male crickets are the only ones that chirp. They have ridges on their wings that they rub together that act like a comb and file to form an instrument. Their left forewing contains 50-300 teeth that are raised and angled. This wing is rubbed against the upper hind edge of the right forewing, or scraper. There are two types of songs that the male cricket produces. The calling song attracts females and repels other males and is very loud. The courting song is used when the female is near and is a very quiet song. Once courted, the mating process begins and the female lays her eggs usually during the late summer to early fall.
There are 900 different species of the cricket. They are nocturnal insects and are often confused with
grasshoppers. They feed on organic material like decaying plants, fungi and seedling plants.
The camel cricket gets its name from itís slightly humped-back and long spider-like legs. Adults don't have wings like other crickets. The greenhouse stone cricket is the main species of camel crickets that can become a pest when indoors. They are frequently found around greenhouses.
Camel crickets don't chirp. They are found in moist areas under stones and logs or in stacks of firewood. Overgrown areas with vegetation such as ivy and other ground cover are good hiding places for this insect. Camel crickets pass the winter as nymphs (they look like adults, only smaller). Females lay her eggs in the spring in soil.
During extreme weather conditions, the camel cricket becomes attracted to cool, moist, humid area like storage buildings, crawlspaces, basements, garages and indoors where moisture is a problem like bathrooms and laundry rooms. A heavy infestation is known when the presence of dark fecal smears on surfaces is found. This can damage stored items like garment and linens.
The cave cricket gets its name because it is commonly found in cool, damp places like caves, wells, rotten logs, stumps and hollow trees, under damp leaves and stones. They have large hind legs, and a long slender antenna. They are brownish in color and hump-backed. They can grow up to 2 inches and their body is translucent when they are young.
The sand treader is a cricket that is found in sand dunes and is very active at night.
They spend their day burrowed in the sand to help minimize water loss.
Sand Treaders are pale colored and their legs have strong bristles attached to
aid in digging.
Found in California and Utah, the sand treader is prey for scorpions. When searching for food, they use their limbs and antennae to see where they are going, using their sense of touch.
Sand treaders are known to take up residences in basements. Those species that live deep in caves, often lack nutrients, so they devour their extremities to avoid
The Mormon cricket is actually a shield-backed katydid and not a cricket at all. They can grow up to three inches in length and live in the western portions of North America in sagebrush. These flightless insects can travel up to two kilometers during the day in its swarming phase.
The shield of the Mormon cricket is black, brown, red, purple or green. They have long antennae, a stripped abdomen and females have a long ovipositor sometimes mistakes for a stinger. The Mormon cricket undergoes changes similar to locusts. They are colored when they are swarming and one color when they are not. They take their name from the first Mormon settlement in Utah became infested with the crickets, but saved by California gulls eating them.
During the swarming phase, the female lays her eggs in soil. Swarming infestations can last years or decades depending on the population density of the insect. When a large swarm crosses the road, it causes safety hazards by distraction and leaves fluid on the road.
The Mormon cricket eats alfalfa, vegetables, grasses, shrubs and sagebrush. Predators are California gulls, crows and coyotes. they are also eaten by Native Americans.
The Jerusalem cricket is a flightless insect native to the western United States along the Pacific coast and south to Mexico. They are also known as potato bugs or "old baldheaded man" because of its human like head. Despite the name, this insect do not prefer potatoes and are not true crickets or true bugs. They are similar to true crickets in that each species produces a different mating song by drumming their abdomen on the ground. They also create audible sounds by rubbing its hind legs against its abdomen creating a hissing noise designed to frighten predators. The Jerusalem cricket doesn't have ears so it relies on vibrations. They are not venomous, but can emit a foul smell and can bite. The Jerusalem cricket has black and orange bands around its body.
Our thanks to Lani Powell for research and writing which
made this information page possible!
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