There you are, minding your own business in the laundry room in your cellar when, out of nowhere, there is this THING on your basement wall! It appears to be a sort of spider. But before you can get a good look at it, it springs off the wall, sails through the air, and just misses your head!
After screaming like a schoolgirl and running up the cellar stairs, you Google "scary looking jumping spider thing in cellar" and discover that you have camel crickets.
What Are Camel Crickets?
Originally native to Asia and Australia, these crickets thrive in damp areas outside, such as near drains and wells, downspouts and sewers. Unlike other types of crickets, camel crickets do not make chirping sounds. Though they may scare you out of your wits in the cellar, they will not keep you up at night if they get inside your walls. Camel crickets grow to be between ½ an inch to 1 ½ inches in length. They are a mixture of brown and tan and they have long, spider-like legs, long antennae, and a humped back.
Why Are They Called Camel Crickets?
Camel crickets go by several names. Since they look like spiders, some people call these creatures "spider crickets" (sprickets or criders, for short). Other camel cricket names are: cave crickets, land shrimp, and sand treaders. They are called camel crickets because of their humped-back appearance. They are called cave crickets because they love to hang out in damp, dark places, like caves--or your basement laundry room. In Japan, these crickets are called toilet crickets. Let's not ask why.
What Attracts Camel Crickets To Homes?
Like many other pests, these creatures are attracted to moist hiding places. If you have piles of wet sticks and leaves around your property, you will attract camel crickets. If you have a woodpile up against your exterior wall (especially if it is damp) you might have camel crickets hiding there. If you have damp leaves or other organic matter underneath your decks or porches, camel crickets will love you for it.
Once camel crickets come in close, they may find ways to get inside your home. If a camel cricket happens to be on your foundation wall on a cold day, and it feels warmth coming from a crack in the mortar, it will crawl through it and into your nice warm basement laundry room. You know the rest of the story.
The Problem With Camel Crickets
If you are seeing these creepy creatures in your basement, or any other place, you might be wondering: Are camel crickets dangerous? Consider the following points and decide for yourself if you think camel crickets are dangerous:
What Camel Crickets Don't Do:
- Bite. Camel crickets do not (usually) bite humans. It is extremely rare for a camel cricket to bite someone and, if they do, it isn't painful or poisonous.
- Spread disease and illness: Camel crickets are not known to spread any diseases or transmit illnesses to humans.
- Destroy homes: Unlike some pests, such as carpenter ants and termites, camel crickets do not pose any danger to the structure of a home.
What Camel Crickets Do Do:
- (Speaking of dodo): Camel crickets, when their populations are large enough, will leave noticeable amounts of fecal matter in the areas where they are infesting.
- Make themselves at home: Once inside, these crickets have been known to make themselves comfortable inside furniture, clothing, houseplants, and in other articles where they can soil and/or damage the items.
- Scare the wits out of people: If you have a weak heart, it is probably not a good idea to have these little monsters living in your cellar.
- Eat most anything: Camel crickets can be destructive to property because they will eat just about anything including, fungus, plant matter, insects, and even cloth items.
How To Get Rid of Camel Crickets
The best way to discourage these insects is to remove all sources of moisture in and around your Knoxville home. Fix leaky pipes and fixtures, install fans and dehumidifiers in humid areas of your home, seal off crawl spaces and dry them out, and remove any moist/damp organic matter from your property. If you have firewood, keep it well away from your outer walls and up off the ground. If you have damp leaves under decks, rake them up. And if you have mulch, rotted wood, or sandy soil too close to your foundation, have it removed and replaced with a dry material such as crushed rock.
If camel crickets have invaded and you are at your wit's end, the best course of action is to contact the pest professionals here at Russel's Pest Control. We will take care of those "scary looking jumping spider things in the cellar," and any other household pests you may be dealing with. Reach out to us today for prompt, effective camel cricket removal!
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