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An amusing anecdote: A friend of mine had her first close encounter with a camel cricket as a teenager. Her parents had a basement rancher; the cricket entered from the garage and came out of a dark corner to taunt her one night when she was home alone. Feeling concerned but not yet dismayed, she grabbed a shoe and proceeded to stalk the invader. You can imagine her surprise when the cricket turned on her as she approached and jumped at her instead of running away. This was no ordinary cricket; it jumped well above the height of her knee and chased her all the way to the next room. Her solution? She armed herself with three phone books and launched them one at a time from half-way up the stairs. Desperation made her aim true, and she landed the last one on the enemy. She then jumped up and down on top of it for five minutes until she was sure the offender was dead. I laugh aloud every time I imagine this.

Camel crickets are a problem in the fall and winter in Knoxville and the surrounding counties, and their nasty habit of hopping at people is unacceptable. I have never met anyone who could tolerate a camel cricket problem in their home. So, how can you bring peace to the basement once more?

Believe it or not, in most cases, camel crickets do not want to be in your house. Typically, they wander in from outside while hunting for a place to hide from the sun (they’re nocturnal). A gap under your garage door gives them access to the warm building, and then they only have to wait for the door to swing open to let them in the house. What they will find, however, is that there’s nothing good to eat there. Camel crickets (and other crickets) are rarely destructive in homes; they are plant eaters and will be unimpressed by the food in your kitchen.

In light of that, how do you stop the hoppers? I return to my stand-by advice: Seal up the holes into your house! This is especially relevant now that the weather is getting cold. Grabbing some caulk or weather stripping is a hassle that you may not need in your busy schedule, but it will benefit your wallet and help to alleviate your pest problem if you can find time for it. Every hole that you block is another place where cold air can’t get in and warm air can’t get out. Think of the good you can do for your heating bills this winter. Check your doors and windows as well as the opening around your plumbing and cable wires for potential problems.

There is a chance that camel crickets are purposely choosing to live in your basement or crawl space because they are comfortable there. This is almost always the result of dampness and perhaps clutter. Like many pests, crickets like to find undisturbed areas to hide. If you can get any boxes off the floor of your garage or basement and store them up higher, you will eliminate the majority of the crickets’ housing. Also, many pest control companies recommend de-humidifiers for basements or crawl spaces that remain damp throughout the year. A damp crawl space can lead to many (sometimes expensive) problems, ranging from wood rot, to pest invasions, to mold. A cozy, dry basement or crawl space will not be comfortable to camel crickets, and they will be less likely to enter your home to escape the cold.

At Russell’s Pest Control, we do free home inspections. Our inspectors can tell you whether you have moisture problems in the crawl space or conditions in the basement that leave you in danger of facing bug problems or home maintenance issues. They can also do a check for termite activity while they’re there. Does that sound like the sort of helpful information you need? Try calling us, or check in with us on our contact page. We promise to answer your questions and serve you to the best of our abilities.

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