Everyone remembers Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket, the friendly house cricket who sat by the fire keeping toasty warm. But what is a house cricket? Do we have them in our homes?
Crickets will accidentally invade homes, but only rarely will they reproduce there. The usual point of entry is through open or poorly fitted doors, and cracks in doors, windows, foundations, or siding. Crickets need warm temperatures of at least 80°F.
They have a characteristic chirping noise, the sound has been likened to that of new born chicks. In former times the cricket on the hearth was a familiar ‘domestic’ animal and a well known character in many stories and fables. It is only the male cricket that sings and he does so to attract the females. Each male sits in his own little territory and sings. When they stridulate, or chirp, crickets rub the teeth on the sharp edge of one wing against a particularly thick and rough scraper on the opposite wing, using it as a bow. As the temperatures rises, crickets’ songs become louder and faster. With some species, it is possible to precisely determine the temperature simply by calculating the frequency of their chirps. The male also has a sharp aggressive piping note, which is heard when another male tries to enter its territory.
A love sick cricket may sing for hours at a time, as some people will have heard to their cost. One zoologist found that a single cricket chirped no less than 42,000 times over a period of four hours. In ancient China the chirping was so highly regarded that the ladies of the Imperial Palace kept crickets in small golden cages on their pillows, so that they might fall asleep to the song.
Crickets feed on almost any kind of organic matter. They prefer soft plant matter, but will also eat other insects. On the whole it is true to say that crickets are quite harmless…..EXCEPT TO THE EARS…..