Cave crickets can be frightening because you only see them at night when you’re half asleep and the last thing you want is a giant cricket to jump at you.
That’s one of the signature behaviors they’re known for- they jump at threats.
Talk about brave. Right?
If you see one, you probably have many. But thankfully, cave crickets (also called spider crickets or camel crickets) are pretty easy to get rid of using DIY home remedies.
In this guide, you’ll learn about:
How to identify a cave cricket vs other crickets
- Why they’re in your house
- What they’re eating
- How to get rid of them using natural methods
- How to prevent cave crickets from infesting your home
- Specific control methods to get rid of them in the kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom
If you have questions about your specific issue, please leave a comment at the end of the page and let me know.
Sound good? Let’s send those cave crickets back to their, well, caves!
What’s a cave cricket?
Cave crickets are like giant crickets. They look nearly identical, but generally have striped hindlegs. They also don’t chirp like your normal housecricket.
They’re very good jumpers and will jump at you to scare you away when they’re threatened. They usually are found in the forest within caves, stones, or other similar environments.
Cave crickets are flightless and only come out at night. There are over 500 species.
There are lots of other common names for the cave cricket, including:
- Spider crickets
- Camel crickets
- Hogan bugs
- Cave weta
- Jumping weta
- Camelback crickets
- Sand treaders
- Land shrimp
Cave crickets vs camel crickets vs spider crickets
There is no difference between these three crickets.
They are all synonymous with each other. Camel, spider, cave, sprickets, and cave wetas are all the same insects- AKA D. asynamoral.
Cave crickets are like giant crickets that have been hybridized with spiders. They’re commonly found in caves, cellars, or other damp areas.
They’re tan in color with red-brown shells. But they can also be black or silver, depending on the environment.
Some have patterned legs that alternate between black and tan while others are solid. They have long antennae that are clearly visible.
Dark bands on the back legs are the signature pattern you can use to tell the difference between other crickets.
They grow up to 33m in length with no wings. They don’t chirp, but they can jump very high into the air. All camel crickets have an arched hump on their back, which is where the name comes from.
Camel crickets have a lifecycle like any other cricket.
The baby cricket emerges from the egg in the spring as a nymph. It feels on mold spores just like adults. It’ll continue to feed until the winter, where it then enter dormancy until the spring. The adults breed in the spring. The female deposits eggs in the soil.
The babies look just like the adults but mini versions.
Where do cave crickets nest?
Cave crickets can be found in caves, leaves, stones, bark, or logs in nature.
When they infest your home, they usually hide in crawl spaces, baseboards, behind walls, kitchens, garages, basements, bathrooms, or bedrooms.
They hide anywhere that has minimal disturbance, has mold, and is dark.
Why am I seeing cave crickets in my house?
You likely have cave crickets because your home is a suitable environment for them to nest within. They don’t ask for a lot. All they need is shelter and food.
Sometimes the changing seasons will also affect their activity- they may migrate inside when it’s too hot or cold outside.
Competition from other insects or populations may also cause them to drift inside your house.
If your home is poorly sealed from the outdoors, they can easily infest it due to its small size. They’re very good at seeking out humid, dark, and damp environments.
Are cave crickets harmful? Do they bite?
Cave crickets are harmless to people. They don’t bite or transmit known pathogens. While they may try to scare you by jumping at you, they won’t bite.
They’re also safe for pets like dogs, cats, or even reptiles to eat (they’re actually a good source of protein).
But only if they’re true cave crickets- not that you should ever encourage your pets to feed on them solely.
So why are they dangerous then? Because they can damage your precious goods like clothing, fabrics, or carpet.
What do they eat?
Cave crickets generally feed on mold. This can come from mold spores or fungus that grows in wet and damp environments.
Think leftover food, bread, bark, leaf litter, etc. When they get inside your house, it’s generally leftover food scraps or moldy structural beams.
How to get rid of cave crickets naturally
There are a ton of home remedies you can utilize to get rid of cave cricket without chemicals.
Check out this list of DIY solutions to eliminate them before you use commercial products. You may be able to rid the infestation using just random household products.
Use a vacuum cleaner
Using a vacuum cleaner is a quick and easy way to clean up cave crickets. Even a relatively crappy vacuum with low suction can suck up crickets with ease. The hard part? Catching them.
As soon as you get close to them, camel crickets will detect a threat nearby. This makes them stop doing whatever they’re doing and wait until you go away.
You need to be quick about it. Using a vacuum with a long hose can be helpful. Since these are pretty big compared to the regular household cricket, you probably want to use vacuums that have big intakes.
Smaller ones may make a big mess at the entry point if they get stuck. Handheld vacuums are even nicer since they’re portable, don’t need cords, and you can direct the hose at cracks or crevices if they get into them.
Remember that once they hear you or the vacuum, they’ll jump. You need to be stealthy to get up to them first.
Then suck them up by powering up the vacuum and moving it towards the insect at the same time. It takes practice, but vacuuming is one of the easiest ways without using synthetic sprays.
Once you suck them up, release them outside or somewhere where they won’t get back inside your property.
If you’re due for a spring cleaning, it’s time to do it.
Cleaning up your home is key to making it less favorable for not just camel crickets, but bugs in general. They need places to hide, breed, and feed.
If you get rid of common objects that they nest within, then it makes them less likely to infest your place. There are some materials that they prefer. You should take steps to get rid of these materials or move them elsewhere out of reach.
Crickets will feed on the same things they nest in.
So get rid of these materials if you want to keep the cave crickets out:
- Other junk
They like to hide in dark, damp places. So make sure that you don’t have these in said zones.
Use sticky cricket traps
These are also known as glue traps. You put them in places where you see camel crickets. They walk over it and they get stuck. It doesn’t matter if they jump.
The adhesive is too strong. They can be reused but will need to be replaced when no longer sticky. You can find these at your local home improvement store.
Or you can DIY it with some duct tape or two-sided tape. Both of these work well. Put them in areas like the walls or baseboards so they’re likely to walk into them.
You can also use bait to bring the cave crickets closer. You can use things like honey, or old bread, which they eat.
Clean the yard
Keeping the garden clean is just as important as keeping your house clean.
Camel crickets come from the garden as the infestation point into your property.
If your garden is tidy, it makes it less favorable for insects to reside in. If you keep your garden free of pests, then you won’t get any inside your house either.
So it basically all starts right outside your house.
There are some things that are prone to camel crickets, so keep these objects clean:
- Remove leaf litter immediately
- Clean up grass clippings
- Prune foliage regularly or remove them if unwanted
- Keep water drains clear
- Clean your storm gutters
- Keep dropped foliage or leaves clear
- Don’t let water pool in your garden
- Use well-draining soil
- Never overfeed
- Don’t overwater your plants
- Harvest your edibles
Keep your house maintained
Your home should be in excellent condition if you want to prevent pests from creeping in. This means doing regular maintenance on it.
If you haven’t gotten it checked out by an inspector recently, perhaps it can help with your pest problem.
There are some major areas that are prone to bug problems:
- Repairing weather-stripping around windows
- Ensuring that windows seal
- Fixing foundational crevices
- Repairing damaged walls or exteriors
- Replacing damaged grates or vents
- Keeping doors in good condition
Check them yourself or hire someone to do it for you. You can often get a free home inspection quote if you shop around.
Yes, it can be pricey. But at the same time, you prevent a lot of pest problems going forward, plus you save on insulation. This can add up over time for your HVAC bills.
Watch the weather
Cave crickets generally come inside during the summer when the weather is dry and hot. They like cool and damp, so it makes sense.
During this period, you should really take steps to safeguard your house so nothing gets in. if they do, then you’ll have a problem when they lay their eggs inside.
This is when you should be on the lookout for them to stop them from breeding.
If you can, then you can stop them in huge numbers. Fix up your house. Use natural repellents. Set up traps.
Get a cat
Did you know cats love to hunt more than mice?
They’re also excellent at hunting cave crickets. So if you have them as a pet, let them go wild.
Of course, you should make sure that the cricket you’re dealing with is indeed nontoxic and safe for cats to eat. You do
Cave crickets love humid environments. So make yours not humid by using a dehumidifier.
If you don’t have one, you can buy one for around $20 if you know where to look (online). Place it where the humidity levels are high in your house.
Think of places that are damp and dark like the garage, kitchen, shed, bathroom, or other wet areas.
Crickets will generally hide in areas with excess moisture content because they need it to breed and hatch from eggs. If you remove the moisture from the air column then you can reduce the likelihood of camel crickets nesting there.
It may force them to move out on their own. Fungus and mold are the favorite foods of crickets. If you get tired of the humidity, it can help get rid of their food source.
Sprinkle boric acid
Boric acid is a natural cricket killer that you can make at home. It kills cave crickets upon ingestion.
The key is to make them ingest it by sprinkling it on bait. You can use cricket gel that’s commonly sold at pet chain stores.
Sprinkle the boric acid on it lightly. Then put the bait somewhere that they frequently crawl around. They’ll eat the gel with the boric acid on the coat and it’ll eliminate the crickets over time, but be careful.
It can be dangerous for pets and sensitive individuals. Use as directed. Put it in places where it won’t be touched.
If you don’t want to buy cricket gel, you can use a homemade mixture bait:
What you’ll need:
- Boric acid
How to make it:
Mix the boric acid with the honey. It should just be about 1 tsp per pint of honey, but you can adjust as needed. Put in one packet of sugar too. Mix well.
How to use it:
- Place a dollop of the mixture onto something that keeps it from staining surfaces. You can use disposable plates or trimmed cups.
- Put it where you see camel crickets active.
- Inspect it daily for feeding.
- Replace when gone or when the honey dries up.
Use soapy water
Place a bowl of soap and water mix. The crickets will seek out the sweet soap and hop into it. The soapy water has a strong surface tension which drowns the crickets.
Use a bowl that’s shallow enough for them to go into. Place these around the house to catch them passively without insecticides.
t’s a safe, DIY method to get rid of cave crickets. Keep pets/people away from it though.
Use cedar oil
Cedar oil is a concentrated essential oil that kills crickets instantly. You can put it into a spray bottle diluted with water and then spray them directly.
It emulsifies crickets upon contact. Be sure to keep it away from people/pets. Use as directed. You can even soak cotton balls with them and place them in strategic locations where camel crickets may cross.
Try diatomaceous earth
When the cricket comes into contact with the crystal, it pierces the shell and drains them of water. Over time, they’ll dehydrate.
Diatomaceous earth is harmless to humans and most pets. In fact, it’s sold as a supplement that can be taken orally.
But there are two kinds of DE- poo grade and food grade. Get the FOOD grade DE, organic if possible.
Sprinkle it around areas where you commonly see camel crickets:
- Under your furniture
- Under appliances
- Home exteriors
- Garden fencing
- Foundational cracks
Be sure to keep people or pets away from the powder so they don’t disturb it. Re-apply as necessary.
Pretend you’re building a fence that forces the crickets to walk over it.
You can line entire bedrooms with it. Apply around the entire perimeter of your house so they need to touch it to get inside like an invisible barrier fence.
Use natural predators
Other than your cat, did you ever think about using other creatures to help eat your cave crickets? Yes.
If you’re wondering what animal eats cave crickets, here’s a bullet point list:
If you have any of these in your garden, find out how to bring out more of them. They can feed on the spider cricket population to help bring down their numbers.
Vinegar can help eliminate camel crickets in many different ways. This is just another amazing thing that vinegar can do, not to mention the other 1001 things…
Anyway, vinegar can be put into a shallow bowl for the crickets to crawl into. If they fall into it or drink it, it’ll kill them.
Vinegar acts like a natural pesticide that kills them quickly. You can also put it into a spray bottle by mixing equal parts water and vinegar and then spraying them directly. With an acidity of pH 2.5, it’s too much for them to handle.
They also hate the smell of it so it lingers around as a repellent. Plus, vinegar is safe for humans and most pets, which makes it more harmless than using some cricket spray.
Molasses can be mixed with water and then poured into a shallow bowl. Put the bowl where crickets hang out. They’ll be drawn into it but can’t get out.
Spray peppermint oil
Cave crickets hate the smell of peppermint oil. It can help in repelling them if used correctly. Pretty much any citrus scented spray will work, including lemon and lime sprays.
Spray it around the areas that they congregate to repel them naturally from your those zones.
Hire a pro
When you don’t have the time or energy to do it yourself, consider getting the help of a professional pest control company.
They often have those guarantees that they’ll continue to treat your pest problem until they’re gone.
The only thing to worry about is the compounds they use. Ask for green or organic options only. Consider hiring local pest control. They’ll appreciate the business!
Yes, it costs more money than doing it yourself. But it saves you time and it gets it done right. Weigh your time vs. money to see if it’s worth it or not.
How to keep spider crickets out of the house
Keeping them out of the house is your first line of defense, friend. If they can’t get in because your home is well-maintained, then you’ve got no cricket problems to worry about.
But if your home is poorly upkept, then you can expect them to simmer in through the cracks when the temperatures change outside.
Keep your home’s exterior in good repair, keep windows/doors sealed, check for cracks in the walls or foundation, and seal door gaps.
Here are some common areas that they infest and how to prevent them from infesting them:
Cave crickets are tiny. It doesn’t take much for them to infiltrate your house. They can get in through windows, doors, or even houseplants.
Once they’re inside, they’ll seek a source of food and then breed. If your home has favorable conditions for them (damp, humid, dark), they’ll gladly make themselves at home. The bathroom is a prime location for cave crickets to infest.
It has plenty of humidity after you shower, plus nobody is perfect enough to not spill water everywhere. So they drink that.
It also leads to microscopic mold spores which are their favorite food. They’ll hide under the sink cabinets, in the medicine cabinet, or just on the other side of the baseboards.
But you can take measures like setting up soap bowls or using boric acid, diatomaceous earth, or even glue to help catch them.
Camel crickets in the bathroom are a common sighting. But it’s also good because it conforms to a single place. Put some DE around the entire perimeter of the bathroom. This way, they need to walk over it if they want to get in or out.
The bedroom is probably the creepiest place for cave crickets to invest.
No one wants to see insects crawling on their bedsheets in the middle of the night. Or hear chirping. Or feel them jump around in bed.
The bedroom itself usually isn’t a moist area, but if yours is because it has bathrooms or windows, you may want to run a dehumidifier. Keep it clean and never eat or drink in your bedroom.
Additionally, you can line the perimeter with diatomaceous earth or use passive traps to catch those crickets.
If you have a cat, let it go wild so it can help you get those pesky crickets. But make sure they’re nontoxic first by verifying that it’s indeed the right cricket.
The bedroom is one of the easier rooms to get rid of cave crickets vs. the kitchen, garage, or bathroom.
If you have crawl spaces, be sure that they’re well-sealed so they can’t get inside. It also helps prevent cave crickets going forward. The more well-insulated your home is, the fewer pests can get inside it. Wouldn’t that be nice?
The kitchen is pretty much the same as the bathroom. Cave crickets want to get in so they can feed on the spores.
Since the kitchen is a place similar to the bathroom, you can expect these buggers to reside there. There’s plenty of water, food, hiding places, and darkness. They can hide in the kitchen cabinets, under the sink, or even in cracks between the tiles or baseboards.
With plenty of food scraps and plenty of spores to feed on, it’s no surprise they love to infest the kitchen.
You can take similar measures to the bathroom:
- Set up glue traps
- Use boric acid
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth
- Run a dehumidifier
- Clean up water spills ASAP
- Regular wipe-down for food spores
While it’s not easy to get all of the crickets, this should definitely create a less favorable environment for these guys to hide in.
If you need to use sprays or pesticides, here are some tips to choosing the right one.
There are tons of different options you can choose, but you should opt for those that are organic or natural. These will be safer for your home and other people/pets if you have any.
You may find these products useful as a starting point. Make sure “CRICKETS” is listed as an insect that it works against (links to Amazon):
- EcoSmart Home Pest Control
- Terro Spider and Insect Traps
- Terro Multi-Purpose Insect Bait
- Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer
What is the best bait for cave crickets?
There’s a ton of DIY bait you can use to lure them into traps or out of hiding.
Some foods in your household can be used to bait cave crickets, including moldy bread, cheese, fungus, silk, cotton, wool, leather, dirty laundry, vegetables, pet food, fruit, bread, tile, and baseboards.
Anything that has mold or sweat on it will be eaten. So you can use it as bait to get those pests out. The majority of these goods can be found around your kitchen garbage.
Are cave crickets active at night?
Cave crickets are nocturnal insects, which means they’re active at night and hide during daylight hours.
This makes them harder to find since they only feed when you’re sleeping. They’re also good at listening to disturbances.
When they suspect an incoming threat, they’ll hide and keep still.
This can make them even harder to catch if they hide somewhere when you walk by. Even worse, they don’t chirp.
This can make finding them even harder, but at least it doesn’t annoy you with their sound, right?
Do cave crickets go away in the winter?
Cave crickets don’t go away in the winter. They just go into hibernation, which is why you won’t see them as much.
When spring rolls around and the temperatures pick up again, they’ll begin to breed. This is why you can’t rely on the winter killing camel crickets. It’s just a pause in their activity to be resumed later on when it’s warm again.
Does Pine Sol repel crickets?
Pine Sol is widely debated in the community whether or not it’s a cricket repellent that crickets stay away from because of the strong scent.
IMO, it doesn’t do anything for crickets. They may not be bothered by it and will continue to forage for food even with Pine Sol sprayed everywhere. But it doesn’t hurt to try if you’ve got a bottle handy.
Are cave crickets attracted to light?
No. They hate the light. They only come out at night to forage. In the daytime, they’ll hide so you can’t see them.
They also don’t chirp, so they’ll be out of sight. This is why they get the name “cave” crickets. They prefer dark areas in nature like woods or bark where it’s dark and damp.
Do cave crickets bite?
Cave crickets don’t bite. They don’t have fangs or teeth to bite, nor do they have a mouth large enough to do so.
However, they’re much larger than regular crickets, so cave crickets can really freak you out if you’ve never seen one.
They can damage clothing or fabrics with their poop or feeding habits.
Can they jump?
Cave crickets can jump as a self-defense mechanism.
It also startles predators. They will jump at you to scare you, so if you’re scared, watch out.
But they’re harmless, so don’t worry about being bitten. Just watch your surroundings. Don’t knock something over! They don’t have the teeth to bite you.
If you need additional reading material, you may find these references handy:
- Camel Cricket – Home and Garden IPM
- Crickets – UMN Extension
- Camel Crickets – NC State Extension Publications
Cave crickets are no match
If you have patience, you can completely get rid of cave crickets in your household.
Especially by using the elements to your benefit. Use the cold reason to eliminate them then block them from coming back in the summertime.
Set up passive traps, use natural repellents, and manually remove any camel crickets you come across. Over time, the population should slowly diminish.
If you have specific questions about getting rid of these guys, please let me know by leaving a comment.
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.