Flushing Them Out: How to Get Rid of Ants in the Bathroom

Ants in the bathroom: Why do they invade this food-free space? It can be frustrating when you’re seeing ant trails in your sink, around the toilet, or along the shower grout. The good news is, you can banish ants from this relatively small area of your home by following a few tips:

  • Keep the bathroom squeaky clean
  • Try natural home remedies
  • Locate and seal off entry points
  • Try ant bait and insecticides
  • Learn when to call in the big guns

Let’s get started so you can enjoy an ant-free lavatory!

Why Ants Are Attracted to the Bathroom

You probably understand why ants tend to congregate on your kitchen counters and pantry floor: There are often crumbs and various food residue. In the bathroom, however, you generally won’t have food particles. So, what’s the deal?

Bathrooms are often warm and damp, which is attractive to ants. They are usually in search of water, and your bathroom provides plenty of it. In addition, items like toothpaste and some scented soaps can be attractive to ants.

Another reason ants enter the bathroom is that access is fairly simple. There are often tiny cracks or gaps around plumbing, and the moisture in a bathroom can warp wooden window sills, leaving tiny entry points. Even if the critters don’t want to stay in the bathroom, it’s often the first place they go when they come into the house.

Maintain a Pristine Space

Maintaining a clean and dry bathroom is going to be your first line of defense against the ant infiltration. If there is no moisture and no tantalizing morsels of toothpaste and such, the ants won’t bother sticking around.

First, wipe down surfaces frequently. This mainly applies to the sink, where you’re using toothpaste, mouthwash, and soaps. Using disinfecting wipes after you use the sink area is a quick and effective way to ensure there’s no residue.

Also, look for any leaks. If there’s a dripping faucet or a pipe with condensation, that’s a water source that could attract ants. Be on the lookout for moisture and eliminate it.

Finally, store personal care products like lotions and toiletries in airtight containers so the fragrances don’t lure in ants.

Locate and Shut Down the Entry Points

While you’re examining your bathroom for things that could be attracting ants, you’ll want to take a look around for potential entry points.

Check all around the windows, doors, and plumbing fixtures for potential gaps and cracks. If you are seeing ant trails, you might be able to discern where they’re coming in. It might be under a baseboard along the floor.

Use silicone caulk to seal these areas. You can run a bead of caulk along the floor where the baseboard or molding touches it, as well as along where the plumbing pipes enter the room from outside the house.

Give DIY Remedies a Shot

There are some natural items you can use to repel ants. This might be enough to discourage the casual six-legged wanderer from meandering into your bathroom, though it might not be enough for a true infestation. Try one or more of the following:

  • Vinegar: You can use vinegar to clean your bathroom; just mix equal parts of water and white vinegar, then add a tablespoon or two of your favorite dishwashing liquid (that you’d use to hand wash dishes, not dishwasher detergent). Shake gently to mix, then use that as an all-purpose cleaner in your bathroom. You can also just spray vinegar water along the areas where ants are coming in.
  • Citrus peels: Peel oranges, grapefruits, or lemons and leave the peels near the entry points. You can also soak them in a bottle of vinegar water, then use that to spray around the bathroom. Ants dislike citrus oils, which are in the peels.
  • Cinnamon: You can sprinkle cinnamon under your sink, on the floor of your linen closet, and in other hidden areas.
  • Peppermint or tea tree oil: These essential oils are good ant repellents. Add a few drops to a spray bottle full of water and spray liberally around the bathroom. Don’t do this if you have pets who spend time in the room, though, as they’re not pet-friendly.

Visit Your Local Hardware Store for Ammunition

If natural remedies aren’t enough, you can go to your local hardware store (or grocery or discount store, in most cases) to get more ammo to use against the ants.

Ant bait stations are good to use near where the ants tend to hang out. You can also put them near entry points, if you can find them. These stations contain bait, which the ants will carry back to their nests. Over time, the other ants, including the queen, will eat the poison, and that will eliminate the colony. Once you start using ant bait stations, don’t kill ants that you see in the vicinity, as you want to let them carry the bait back to the nest.

Insecticides are another option. You can spray the ant killer in areas where you’re seeing ants, and it should kill them on contact. This is a less effective option than using ant bait stations, though. Also, they can be dangerous to use around family members and pets, so be sure to read the instructions carefully.

Know When It’s Time to Consult With the Experts

If you’re having issues in various rooms of the home, it’s best to contact a professional exterminator. Also, if you’ve been trying with DIY methods and store-bought solutions and you’re still seeing ants, a pest control expert will have stronger and more effective tools and methods to deal with the infestation.

You will be able to defeat ants in your bathroom. It just takes some patience, a good bit of cleaning and upkeep, and maybe some products or a professional.

Haunting No More: How to Get Rid of Ghost Ants

Tiny ghost ants might not be as creepy as real ghosts, but they are eerie little visitors. Ghost ants don’t behave exactly the same as other types of ants, which can make them difficult to track down and kill. No worries, though, we have the guide you need to get rid of ghost ants and reclaim your home once again.

The steps include:

  • Identifying Ghost Ants
  • Maintaining Cleanliness
  • Sealing Entry Points
  • Using Natural Repellents
  • Luring Them With Ant Baits
  • Calling for Professional Help

Let’s get started and exorcise these tiny phantoms.

Unmask the Problem by Identifying the Species

Ghost ants have some unique characteristics that makes it fairly easy to distinguish them from their less ghostlike counterparts.

First, these are small ants, measuring less than 2mm in length. Their heads are dark, like any ant, but their abdomens are pale, almost translucent. This gives them the ghostly appearance that lends well to their name.

Another difference is the way they move. While most ants march along well-defined scent trails and can be followed to their nests, ghost ants just run around sporadically. It can be difficult to see where they came in or where they’re going because they move around in what seems like a random pattern.

Finally, ghost ants create multiple nesting sites rather than one big one. This is an issue because if you manage to track down and eliminate one, chances are good that there’s another one hiding elsewhere in or near your home. This makes extermination a bit of a challenge.

Ward Off the Spirits With Cleanliness

Prevention is one key to keeping ghost ants at bay. Keep your home clean and free from crumbs, sticky spills, open packages, and other things that will entice ants.

When you clean your kitchen after meals, be sure to wipe down surfaces well, particularly if anything has spilled. Sweep or vacuum and mop regularly. In your pantry and cabinets, make sure food is in airtight containers.

In short, anything you can do it make it less likely the ants will find delectable morsels to eat will make your home less hospitable to these little creepers.

Close the Portals and Seal Entry Points

It can be difficult to see where ghost ants are getting into your home because they don’t march in lines to entry and exit points. That being said, you can still take some steps to seal off spots where they might be getting in.

Look for cracks and crevices on the outside of your home. Make sure the doors and windows are closing tightly. There might also be holes where cables or plumbing enter the home or gaps around vents that you can seal off.

Some of the items you can use to seal entry points include caulk, weather stripping around windows, and door sweeps under doors.

Use Mystical Aromas to Repel Ants

Keeping the ants out can also be done with natural repellents. If the ghost ants don’t like the way your home smells, don’t be offended; be glad, because they’ll probably choose not to enter.

Some repellents that are known to be distasteful to ghost ants include

  • Peppermint oil
  • Vinegar
  • Citrus peels
  • Cinnamon

You can apply these substances to areas prone to ghost ants. Also, putting them near windows and doors can make the ants turn around while still outside and choose another home to infiltrate.

Enchant the Pests With Bait Traps

Of course, trying to convince the ants to stay away is easier said than done, in some cases. You might need to resort to bait traps to kill the colony. Ghost ants, like other ants, share food with their queen and fellow workers and soldiers. If you can get them to take poisoned bait, they’ll share the love, causing the colony to die out.

Commercially available ant baits are your best bet, since they’ll attract the ants and will also kill them slowly enough to allow them to carry food back to their nests. You don’t want to kill them off before they have a chance to go home.

Remember, don’t kill ants that you see once you put the baits down, as this will hamper your efforts to wipe out the colony. Just put the baits in high traffic areas (not near human food, though), and wait. It will probably take a few days or even up to a week to see a difference, so you’ll need to be patient.

Call in the Ghostbusters As Needed

If your DIY and self-help methods just aren’t curing your ghost ant infestation, you’ll want to consider calling in the pros. Professional exterminators have more treatments and ways to find hidden nests. They’ll also often guarantee their work and will come back if you continue to see ants after treatment.

Ghost ants can be a challenge to eradicate, but it can be done. It just takes time, patience, some cleaning, and a few items you might have around your house already. If none of that works, call in the professionals, and you’ll be ant-free in no time.

Driving Ants Away: How to Get Rid of Ants in the Car

Getting ants in the car can be a common issue, particularly during the summer. A few ants can quickly turn into an infestation, and that makes your vehicle not only uncomfortable but also potentially dangerous. After all, swatting at ants while driving is very distracting.

Here are some of the steps you might take in order to get rid of ants in the car:

  • Identify the source of the ants
  • Clean out the car thoroughly
  • Try natural ant repellents
  • Seal entry points
  • Try using traps
  • Get professional help
  • Keep the car maintained

Ants on the Move: Identifying Entry Points

Since ants are so tiny, their entry points often are, too. Identifying where the critters are getting in is the first step in your mission to banish them from your car. After all, even if you can kill the ants in your car currently, if you don’t thwart their access, more ants will simply move in.

Begin the search by inspecting the windows and doors for gaps, cracks, and compromised seals. Then check out the seams and vents. Use a flashlight to see if you can detect signs of ants using these areas as an entry point. If you spot ants inside the car, watch them for a while to see if you figure out where their scent trails are. This might take some time.

Once you have identified the entry points, use automotive caulk to close off any openings. Also, replace any damaged or worn weather stripping while you’re at it, since ants can get in via these gaps.

Crumbs and Creepy Crawlers: Clean the Car Thoroughly

Once you’ve eliminated any compromised areas, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and clean out your car. Remove everything from the vehicle, including from the trunk and glove compartment, then thoroughly vacuum. Remove the floor mats, shake them out, and vacuum them, too. Pay attention to any crevices where crumbs might accumulate, particularly in the seats.

Move the seats forward and backward to reach the areas underneath them. Also, empty out the console and cup holders. Wipe them down with a damp cloth or automotive wipes to remove any sticky residue from spilled or leaked drinks.

Finally, use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe down the dashboard, steering wheel, and control panels. You might be surprised by the amount of grime you find, but ants won’t be. That’s part of why they’re attracted to cars in the first place.

Natural No-Entry Signs: Repellents to Try

Once everything is sparkling clean, consider using some natural ant repellents in the car. Keep in mind than once you close up the car and leave it parked, particularly on warm days, the scent of anything you are using will become magnified. So, only use scents you and your family members aren’t sensitive to.

Some to try include peppermint oil, cinnamon, tea tree oil, citrus essential oils, and vinegar. Any or all of these will tend to make ants turn around and say “never mind,” even if they’ve found an entry point to your car that you’ve overlooked.

Before using any essential oils, be sure to dilute them well with water or a carrier oil. Also, plan to refresh the scents periodically, since they – and their efficacy – will fade over time.

Baited Roadblocks: Let the Ants Do the Dirty Work

In addition to trying to repel ants, you should try using bait traps. These will lure ants in with a delicious (and deadly) treat waiting for them. The ants will take the morsels back to the nest, where they’ll kill the queen and the rest of the colony.

Whichever type you want to use, read the packaging to ensure it’s safe for the confined environment of your car. They should be rated for indoor use. Place the bait traps in area where ants will tend to be active. These might include under the seats and in the cup holders. Of course, make sure children and pets won’t be able to get to them.

Monitor the bait traps to make sure they’re being used by the ants. If the bait supply is dwindling, replace them. You will need to be patient, as it does take some time for the ants to find the bait and for the rest of the colony to consume it and die.

Roadside Rescue: Calling in the Experts

If self-help measures aren’t working and you’re finding that you still have a lot of ants in your car or if you have fire ants or another biting species, it’s time to call in the pros. Professional pest control services are ready with the expertise, tools, and techniques needed to tackle your ant problem.

Your exterminator will be able to assess the situation and come up with a treatment plan. They’ll create a long-term solution, and they’ll also give you advice for DIY follow-up so you can keep your car free from creepy crawlies.

Vigilance Behind the Wheel: Maintaining Your Ant-Free Ride

Whether you were able to ban the ants on your own or you relied on a professional service, your infestation will, at some point, be under control. At that point, you’ll need to take steps to maintain an ant-free environment in your vehicle.

Create a consistent cleaning routine. Make it a habit to wipe down surfaces and vacuum on a regular basis. This will both keep ants at bay and also give you a chance to inspect for signs of ants so you can catch any new infestation at the earliest point possible.

Don’t eat meals or snacks in your car, and only drink water. That’s the easiest way to keep ants out, but it also might not be the most realistic way. If you must eat in the car, be sure to dispose of wrappers and trash immediately. Also, plan to vacuum up any crumbs as quickly as you can, particularly if you have children or if you’ve spilled anything. Wipe out cupholders with wipes to remove traces of spilled beverages.

Continue using natural repellents to discourage ants from entering, and always keep your windows closed when you’re parked.

Finally, just stay vigilant. Take the time to consciously look for ants. Teach the rest of your family to also be aware and to let you know right away if they see ants or if they’ve dropped crumbs or food. By following these tips, you can keep your car ant-free and save yourself a lot of hassle.

Sweet Solutions: How to Kill Sugar Ants and Eradicate Them From Your Home

Sugar ants: Nobody wants to see them making their trails across the floor, counter, dining room table, and in the pantry, but they’re a common occurrence. The good news is that there are ways to prevent these tiny creatures from entering, and if they’re already there, you can use a variety of methods to get rid of them. In this guide to killing sugar ants, you’ll learn about:

  • The signs of infestation
  • How to keep sugar ants out of the home
  • Natural remedies for sugar ants
  • Store-bought solutions for sugar ants
  • Professional extermination for sugar ants
  • Maintaining a pest-free home

Let’s get down to business as we discover how to get these annoying critters out of the home once and for all.

Trail of Trouble: Recognizing Sugar Ant Infestations

Sugar ants may be tiny, but they’re relentless, and a few little wanderers can quickly spiral into a full infestation in no time at all. Identifying the signs of a sugar ant infestation allows you to get to the root of the problem quickly so you can hopefully eliminate them for good.

Here are some signs you might have a sugar ant problem:

  • Seeing sugar ants. Sugar ants are small, up to 3 mm in length but often even smaller. They’re brown to black in color, and their middles are often (but not always) lighter. If you’re seeing larger ants in your home, they’re likely not sugar ants.
  • Seeing ant trails. The ants go marching two by two, or three by three, or four by four… The main thing is that sugar ants make trails winding along the edges of your rooms, across the walls, and maybe along your countertops. These are the worker ants that leave scent trails for each other to follow. The trails will lead to food sources and also back to their nest.
  • Seeing small mounds or nests. Sugar ant nests look like a small mound of dirt with a hole in the middle. The hole is their front door and the way they access the nest. The nests will usually be outside, but sometimes they’ll be inside your walls.
  • Smelling a fermented odor. Only some people can smell ants, and they often describe it as similar to rotting fruit or old cheese. The smell comes from ants that have been crushed, and smelling it in your house can mean you have an ant problem.

Ant-Proofing 101: Keeping Sugar Ants at Bay

Sugar ants are attracted to sugar and other foods. They aren’t super picky; they’ll pick up any crumbs they can find, particularly those from breads, cakes, and other carbs. The best way to keep ants out of your home is to not have food laying around where they can get to it. If there’s no food supply, these opportunistic creatures will wander out the way they came in, and they won’t alert their colony members of the all-you-can-eat buffet, so there will be no infestation.

Keeping out the explorers in the first place can begin with sealing potential entry points. Check for gaps and cracks around windows and doors, and make sure the bottom of your doors are sealed so they don’t walk in underneath. Of course, ants are extremely tiny, so if they really want to find a way in, they’ll likely find spaces you never even saw. You can also try some natural remedies.

Ant Anarchy: Natural Ways to Repel Sugar Ants

There are lots of ways to repel ants from coming in. Many of them are completely harmless to humans, so they’re a good place to start.

First is vinegar. It can act as an all-purpose cleaner, and it can also disrupt ants by taking away their scent trails. If they can’t detect their trails, they generally won’t come inside. You can spray entry points with vinegar, and you should also use it to wipe down any surfaces where you’ve found ants and trails.

A heavy line of chalk drawn across your windowsills and door thresholds (on the outside) can deter ants from entering. They don’t like to walk through chalk, so this will often cause them to turn around and go in the opposite direction.

Some essential oils will also deter ants. These include peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, and citrus oil. You can also sprinkle cinnamon across entryways and in windowsills to prevent ants from entering. Be aware that essential oils should be diluted and can pose a danger to children or pets.

Finally, diatomaceous earth is a powder that can dehydrate ants by damaging their exoskeletons. Sprinkling that around will kill sugar ants before they get very far into your home.

Ant Assault: Choosing and Using Store-Bought Ant Control

If you get to the point where you see a lot of ants or you’re getting them in your food packages, it’s time to take the offense rather than the defense. At this point, you might need to rely on store-bought ant control products. There are a variety of them available, including sprays, traps, and baits.

When it comes to sugar ants, baits are very effective. Set them up on your counters and in corners where you’ve seen trails. The ants will go into them, gather the poison, and bring it back to the nest. In this way, they’ll end up participating in their own demise by bringing what they think is food back to the soldier ants and queen. Just be sure to read the directions and repeat as instructed for the best results.

Calling in the Calvary: When to Bring in Professional Pest Control

Many times, DIY methods will work pretty well, but sometimes, they won’t be enough to eliminate ants. Or, the ants might be eradicated but manage to come back. This is often because the treatment method was enough to repel or kill a good portion of the colony but not the whole thing. At this point, it might be time to call in the pros.

A professional pest control company has more tools, more knowledge, and more experience, so they’ll be able to identify the source of the infestation and know exactly how to get it out of there. You might need follow-up visits; some companies will ask you to have them come back monthly or quarterly for some period of time.

As long as you’re keeping up your end of the contract, many of these services have guarantees that you won’t see live ants for a set time period. If you do, they may come back to treat the home again at no charge. Get the details from the specific company you’re considering.

Ant-Free Zone: Keeping Your Home Free From Sugar Ants

Once you’ve tackled the sugar ant infestation, it’s not over: You still need to maintain your ant-free status quo. You’ll need to regularly inspect areas where you’ve seen ants before to make sure they’re not coming back in for a curtain call. You should also follow preventative measures such as keeping food sealed, eliminating any standing water, and regularly wiping off counters, sweeping, and vacuuming.

Sugar ants are persistent, but you can reclaim your home. Be willing to stay proactive, keep your house as clean as possible, seal off entry points, store food properly, and use some DIY natural repellents to keep ants at bay. If you do see tiny insects coming back into the home, you can jump quickly to your store-bought methods or call the exterminator back. You’ve got this!

Tiny Lives, Surprising Longevity: How Long Do Ants Live?

Did you know that some ants can live for years, while others can live for multiple years? There’s not one solid answer to “how long do ants live?” because different species and castes have different lifespans. In addition, environmental factors play a part. If you’re interested in the lifespan of ants, here are some topics you might be curious about:

  • The development phases of ants
  • The lifespans of worker and warrior ants
  • How long the queen ant lives
  • Different factors that affect longevity of ants

Let’s learn more about these fascinating creatures and how long they live.

The Developmental Phases of an Ant’s Life

Ants go through four distinct phases of life, and it all starts when the queen ant, who is the central reproducing female of the colony, lays eggs. These are tiny and oval-shaped, and they’re well-protected by the worker ants assigned to the nursery. This phase can last between a few days to a few weeks, depending on the species, and when the egg is ready, it hatch into a larva.

Ant larvae are baby ants, and they don’t look much like ants at all. The worker ants continue to care for them by regurgitating their food to feed them. Worker ants will also scavenge for food for these quickly growing babies. As they grow, the larvae will shed their skins, or molt. This phase lasts only about a week, sometimes two, depending on the species.

When they’ve grown enough, these larvae will turn into pupas. They transform into a cocoon-like structure, much as a caterpillar does before it turns into a butterfly. They’ll remain in this passive pupal stage for between one week and one month, and when they’re ready to emerge, they’ll be fully adult ants.

How Long the Different Castes Live

During the pupal stage, the ant will develop internal systems that will tell it whether it’s a worker, soldier, or queen ant. Most of the male ants will become soldiers, sometimes called warriors. And most of the females will become workers; these ants hatch without wings. A few females will be ready to be queen ants; they’ll be born with wings.

Soldier ants act as warriors or defense. They will also mate with the queen. These ants only live from a few days to a few weeks, and they will die shortly after mating.

Worker ants are sterile females. They can live for several years, between five and seven if they are able to avoid predators and other dangers. The exception would be if the queen were to die; worker ants will die off fairly quickly, within weeks to months, if the queen dies.

A healthy queen can live for 15 years or even more, assuming she’s well taken care of and protected from predators. In captivity, some queens have even lived for over 20 years. Her primary role is to lay eggs and ensure the longevity of the colony, so the worker and soldier ants will do what it takes to protect her.

Factors That Affect Ant Longevity

There are a lot of factors that can affect the longevity of an individual ant as well as that of a colony. Here are some of them:

  • Temperature and humidity. Ants are cold-blooded, so the outside temperature affects their body temperatures and metabolisms. In warmer climates, ants can have a higher metabolism, which leads to a shorter lifespan, while in cooler climates, their metabolism can slow down, leading to a longer life. Humidity is beneficial to ants and can help them enjoy longer lives, while dry or arid climates can lead to dehydration and shorten their lives.
  • Food availability. Access to a consistent diet is, of course, necessary to keep the colony living a long, healthy life. Ants forage and aren’t generally picky eaters, so if the environment has organic material, it’s likely the ants will be well-fed. On the other hand, if there is a food shortage, the ants might die out, particularly in the winter when resources in most places aren’t bountiful.
  • Predators. Ants build intricate nests under the ground, and this keeps them safe from many predators. If they do encounter a predator, though, it’s possible the whole colony can suffer a great loss, even if the whole thing isn’t lost. Humans are considered a predator and can wipe out nests indoors and outdoors with chemicals and other extermination/control methods.
  • Nest quality. The quality of an ant nest can make or break their lifespans. If the nest isn’t well-constructed and doesn’t provide shelter from weather or doesn’t protect from predators, that will negatively impact the colony’s lifespan. On the other hand, ants that have well-built, sturdy nests are likely to have longer lives.

When thinking about ant lifespans, it’s important to understand that these are all averages, and that different species have various lengths of life. In addition, the factors listed can have small or large impacts on their longevity. If you’re dealing with ants in your house, you probably aren’t going to be able to wait out a colony, so it’s important to get on top of your ant removal methods sooner rather than later.

Exploring the Fascinating World of Crickets

If you were to think about crickets, you might think about the music they make at night. Or, you might think about Jiminy Cricket. There’s a lot more to these interesting creatures than meets the eye (or ear, in this case), though. Let’s delve into the intriguing world of crickets and uncover some lesser-known facts. We’ll talk about topics including:

  • Why crickets chirp and what influences their patterns
  • How crickets keep themselves at the right temperature
  • The environmental and nutritional impacts of crickets as cuisine
  • All about the cricket’s sense of hearing
  • Crickets in mythology and popular culture

Let’s get started and take a deep dive into the fascinating world of crickets!

Cricket Chirps as Communication

While it might just sound like a beautiful summer song, that familiar chirping is more than that. Male crickets create their characteristic chirps by rubbing their wings together in a behavior called stridulation. They do this to woo female crickets for mating.

If you listen carefully on a warm evening, you’ll likely hear lots of different cadences, tones, and volumes. Each cricket species (and there are a lot of them!) has its own special song, and the speed of chirping is often influenced by the weather. On hot evenings, the songs will have a faster tempo, and on cooler evenings, the chirps will have more pauses. Other factors that can affect their chirp rate are how old the cricket is, how much competition the males have, and whether they’re hungry.

Cricket Thermoregulation

One reason for the different speeds of chirping is that crickets are cold-blooded, which means they have to regulate their body temperatures depending on the environment. During the day, they might bask in the sun to warm up. At night, they cool down along with the ambient temperature.

Many times, crickets will die over the winter, but some will find sheltered places, such as inside a toasty warm home, to ride out the colder months. Crickets can also go into a state called torpor, which is similar to hibernation.

Crickets as Cuisine

You might not want to sit down with a large plate of crickets at dinnertime, but these insects are a source of nutrition. They’re chock-full of protein and vitamins, and they don’t need as much space, water, or resources as other types of livestock that you might eat on a regular basis, like cows, pigs, or chickens.

Cricket farming has become more popular in recent years, and they just might become the next protein trend. It could help tackle the problem of food insecurity, too. If you’re open to it and you have a source of edible crickets, consider giving them a try!

Extraordinary Hearing Abilities

Another fun fact about crickets is that they hear through their knees. Their ears are located on their forelegs, and they detect sound waves by picking up on the vibrations they make. Crickets can sense you or other potential predators approaching thanks to these vibrations.

In some crickets, one ear is larger than the other, and that allows them to determine more easily from which direction a sound is coming from.

Cultural Significance

Aside from Jiminy Cricket, these little creatures have found their way into various stories, myths, folklore, and types of symbolism. In some cultures, such as in China, crickets are considered good-luck symbols that can protect against evil and bring prosperity.

Crickets are also part of popular culture. In the Disney film, Mulan, Cri-Kee is the princess’s lucky cricket who warns her of danger and watches over Mulan. Jiminy Cricket himself is also a kind, caring, and brave friend to his sidekick, Pinocchio.

To you, crickets might be a household pest or a welcome musician of the night. Within their groups, however, crickets have complex behaviors and unique adaptations that have inspired fascination to the point that now they have some cultural significance.

Cricket vs. Grasshopper: What’s the Difference?

Grasshoppers and crickets are similar insects, but they’re two different species. It can be difficult to tell them apart, but we’ve got the details you need if you want to become more of an expert on the differences between crickets vs grasshoppers.

Here are some of the features we’ll talk about:

  • Getting to know how they’re related
  • Spotting the differences in their physical appearances
  • Understanding where crickets and grasshoppers each prefer to live
  • Learning about how they communicate
  • Discovering what they each eat

Sit back, relax, and let’s get to know these interesting insects!

Discovering These Chirping Cousins

Grasshoppers and crickets both belong to the order Orthoptera, which also includes locusts and katydids. From there, the order splits; grasshoppers belong to the suborder Caelifera, while crickets belong to the suborder Ensifera. This means that they’re sort of cousins in the insect world, but they aren’t quite as close as their appearances might lead you to believe.

Some key differences include their sizes, colors, eating habits, how they create their music, where they prefer to live, and what they eat.

Using a Keen Eye to Detect Differences

The most obvious differences will be the ones you can see. Crickets and grasshoppers have similar bodies, including long, folded hind legs that help them jump. Their differences are more prominent than their similarities, though.

First, grasshoppers are larger than crickets, generally speaking. While there is some overlap between the largest crickets and the smallest grasshoppers, the latter are usually longer.

Their color is also different: grasshoppers are usually a shade of green, while crickets tend to be brown, gray, or black. Again, there’s some overlap here; some grasshoppers can be more brownish, and there is at least one species of cricket (the great green bush cricket) that is green. If you’re in the United States, though, the grasshoppers tend to be green and the crickets tend to be darker shades of brown and black.

If you’re still not sure what you’re seeing, take a look at the insect’s antennae. If they’re long, maybe even as long as the insect’s body, it’s probably a cricket, and if they’re short, it’s probably a grasshopper.

Grasshoppers always have wings, and crickets sometimes do. If the critter you’re questioning has no wings, it must be a cricket. If it does have wings, it could be either.

Finding Out Where Crickets and Grasshoppers Are Likely to Live

One thing to keep in mind is that grasshoppers are more active during the day, while crickets are more active at night. If you’re out on a sunny day and you see a green or greenish-brown long-legged insect that could be either a cricket or a grasshopper, it’s likely a grasshopper. On the other hand, if your mystery musician is out serenading the nighttime air, it’s likely a cricket.

Crickets prefer darker, shaded areas where they can hide. They’re also attracted to lights, so you might see them jumping out of damp, dark areas onto the sidewalk where your outside lights are shining after dark.

Grasshoppers, on the other hand, like open fields, where they can eat their fill of grass and also blend in with the grass. They can live in deserts, grasslands, and tropical areas without much trouble.

While it’s possible for either to make their way into your house, if you have an infestation starting, crickets are more likely to blame. A grasshopper won’t find the open spaces and grass they need and want to survive in your home, but a cricket will find plenty of dark hiding spaces.

Deciphering Their Stridulation Styles

Stridulation is the way crickets and grasshoppers create their melodies; it means that they rub together body parts to product buzzing or chirping sounds.

Grasshoppers make sounds by rubbing their long hind legs against their wings. The resulting sounds are clicks and chirps designed to help t hem find a mate and also to protect themselves and their territory. They tend to make most of their sounds during the day.

Crickets, however, rub their front wings together. Only the males can make these sounds, which are a high-pitched chirp; they do it to attract females and also to warn predators to stay away. Most of a cricket’s music will be made at night.

Another striking difference between crickets and grasshoppers is what they prefer to eat. Grasshoppers are herbivores and only eat plant matter. They find plenty of it in grassy fields, backyards, the woods, and anywhere else they can find plants, including grass. If grasshoppers get into the house, they will generally either leave or die, since they won’t be very successful in finding the food they need in most cases. They are, however, capable of inflicting damage to a garden or a field of crops.

Crickets are omnivores and will scavenge and eat opportunistically. This means they can make perfectly fine meals out of crumbs on your floor, other insects, or plants. If they get into your house, they’ll often be able to scrounge up what they need to eat and stay alive, so they might stay a while. If they’re outdoors, though, crickets are beneficial because they contribute to cleaning up organic matter, making the world a little less dirty.

The next time you see a long-legged jumping insect or you hear chirping outside, take a few moments to listen. You might be able to identify which critter it’s more likely to be based on where it’s living, what color it is, how large it is, and maybe even what it’s eating.

Eco-Friendly Pest Control: Managing Cricket Infestations Naturally

People are more aware today than ever before how our actions impact the planet. When it comes to dealing with pests in the home, many prefer eco-friendly solutions when possible. Not only is this better for the greater environment but it’s also often better for the people and pets living in the house, since harsh chemicals can sometimes cause respiratory symptoms in sensitive people (and pets).

Some ways you might be able to manage a cricket infestation naturally include:

  • Changing the environment
  • Using natural remedies to deter crickets
  • Using natural remedies to exterminate crickets
  • Maintaining good insect-control practices

Read on to learn more about how you can defeat crickets naturally.

Understand Why Crickets Are Infesting Your Home

Crickets are responsible for the summer evening concerts you hear when you walk outside after dark during the warmer months. Unfortunately, they can sometimes get into your house and cause an infestation.

They’ll often enter your home simply out of opportunity. Maybe you left a door or window open at night when you had lights on. The crickets might have been drawn in by the light and found your home cozy and safe. They’ll also often hop in when you open a door to go in or out in the evening. If you have outdoor lighting, they’re already hanging around, then when you open the door, they invite themselves in.

Having foliage or other hiding spots around your doors or windows provides them with a place to hide. If they jump into the house and find similarly welcoming plants, they might feel right at home.

Once crickets have made themselves comfortable, they’ll eat whatever is available. This might be crumbs left on the floor, smaller insects who also live in your house, plants, and various other material. They’ll find moisture in your sinks or maybe around appliances like the refrigerator or washing machine.

Why You Might Want to Choose Natural or Eco-friendly Options

Once you find crickets in your house (and it won’t take long, since their music will be a good clue), your first instinct might be to call your local exterminator. While this is always an option, there are reasons to consider natural solutions first.

Remember that chemicals affect more than just the insects you’re trying to eliminate. In some cases, particularly if you or someone in your home has asthma or allergies, they can cause respiratory issues in humans. Some chemicals can be harmful to pets, especially birds.

Chemical pesticides can also create environmental pollution or kill off other organisms. And they can cause resistance; just as bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics, insects can sometimes become resistant to popular pesticides. The good news is that there are various natural remedies you can try.

Making Your Home Less Attractive to Crickets

Crickets go into your home based on the opportunity to enter, and they stay because it’s comfortable in there. They’re finding the shelter, food, and water they need to stay alive and even to reproduce.

By cleaning up the surroundings and making it harder for crickets to find what they need, they can either die off or just leave on their own accord. You might want to fix any water sources, such as cleaning out the drain pan under your refrigerator and making sure no pipes are leaking. You can also dry out sinks and showers before going to bed at night.

Remove clutter and sweep and vacuum frequently to remove food sources. If you have an infestation of smaller insects, like ants or bed bugs, do what you need to do to rid your home of those critters, as they may be a source of food for the crickets.

Natural Deterrents to Try

There are some substances that crickets find naturally unappealing. By using these in your home, that might dissuade them from getting to comfortable.

One is garlic. You can make a garlicky spray by soaking garlic in water and spray that around your house. Of course, a strong garlic smell can also be a human repellent, and garlic is toxic to pets, so only do this if you really like the smell of garlic and if you don’t have pets who can get into it.

Citrus peels, like those from oranges, lemons, and limes, are another deterrent. These typically smell better to humans, too. You can create citrus oil, use essential oils, or just leave some citrus peels around where you’re finding crickets.

Peppermint oil is another good repellent. Mix a few drops of peppermint oil with water and spray it around where you’ve seen crickets as well as near entry points like windows and doors. You might also try lavender oil or eucalyptus oil, as these have similar effects on crickets and other insects.

Other substances you might want to try using to repel crickets are cinnamon, vinegar, and cedar chips.

Ways to Exterminate Crickets Naturally

If repelling crickets isn’t working, it might be time to try some natural extermination methods. There are three that can cause harm to crickets but won’t generally harm people or pets.

The first is diatomaceous earth. This is a powder that can get through insect exoskeletons and cause severe dehydration, resulting in death to the crickets. Diatomaceous earth is safe to use around pets, but don’t use it where they’ll eat it or inhale it, as it can cause respiratory issues. (It can also cause similar issues in humans, so don’t inhale it or leave it where young children might ingest it.)

The second is neem oil. This is both a deterrent and an extermination measure. Dilute it in oil and spray it around. It can disrupt the growth of crickets, stopping an infestation in its tracks. Neem oil is safe for use around pets.

Finally, Borax is a good method for drying out and also repelling crickets. You can find this in the laundry aisle of your local grocery or discount store. Note that ingesting Borax can cause stomach irritation in humans in pets, so don’t leave it around where children or animals might ingest it.

How to Keep Crickets From Coming Back

Once you get your cricket infestation under control, there are a few things you can do to prevent them from returning.

  • Clean up foliage and plants that are close to the doors and windows to remove hiding spots that allow easy access to your home.
  • Use yellow outside lights rather than white ones, as these tend to not be as attractive to crickets and many other insects.
  • Try planting marigolds or chrysanthemums near your home’s entry points. These are repellent to crickets and some other insects.
  • Consider using cinnamon, vinegar, or any of the repellents listed above around your door frames and windows on the outside of your house to repel them away from the entry points.

Dealing with a cricket infestation isn’t always easy, but do keep in mind that crickets are relatively harmless, even if their songs are annoying for you to hear within your own home. By cleaning well and trying some of the natural repellents and pesticides, you should have your infestation under control fairly quickly. Remember that you can always call in a professional exterminator for chemical pesticide help if the infestation is severe or if your DIY methods aren’t working.

The Fascinating Biology of Crickets: From Anatomy to Acoustics

Crickets: Their most prominent feature is their chirping, which you’ve undoubtedly heard on warm summer evenings. These tiny creatures also have other intriguing parts of their biology that you might not know about. Some of the secrets you might want to learn about include:

  • How and why crickets make those chirping sounds
  • Why cricket anatomy is unique
  • The cricket life cycle and reproduction habits
  • How circadian rhythms work with crickets

Let’s get started and get to to know about these little musicians of the night.

The Hows and Whys of the Cricket Orchestra

Have you wondered how crickets produce those enchanting sounds? It’s all about stridulation: This is when male crickets rub their wings together to create the signature sounds that help attract female crickets. It also serves as communication.

While you might not be able to discern between them, crickets actually have a whole repertoire of chirps, and they all have different messages. They use their songs to woo potential partners and to tell rival crickets and other insects to stay back. Different species even have slightly different tones and cadences. The result to our human ears is a nighttime chorus, but they can differentiate between the different frequencies, durations, and pitches.

What’s Going on Beneath a Cricket Exoskeleton

A cricket often looks like a gray, brown, or black grasshopper. They have narrow heads, a long body, long, folded legs, and prominent eyes and mouths.

The entire body is encased in an exoskeleton, which is molted, or shed, when the cricket grows. Baby crickets will molt six to eight times as they grow into their adult bodies, and this process takes two or three months. You probably won’t find their skins, however, because a lot of this happens underground.

A cricket’s legs are strong, and they allow them to jump, walk, and grasp. If a predator grabs a cricket by a leg, it can release it and continue living without one of the appendages.

Their wings allow them to fly and also to create their music. Baby crickets, called nymphs, don’t have working wings; they are the privilege of making it to cricket-adulthood.

A cricket’s mouth is also unique. The insects are scavengers, so they’ll eat whatever they can find, from fruit, seeds, and fungi to smaller insects and their larvae. Their mouths reflect this versatility; they have strong jaws, an upper lip called a labrum, and segments that help guide different types of food into the mouth. This allows them to clean up their environment based on whatever plant or animal matter is available.

The Cricket Life Cycle Metamorphosis

Crickets start off as eggs, which are laid in a nest chosen by the female crickets. These are hidden; they might be buried in the dirt or tucked away in a small area or crevice. The eggs hatch into nymphs, which look like tiny crickets without wings. Over the next weeks and months, they’ll grow rapidly, shedding their exoskeletons as they grow.

After the final molt, the adult cricket emerges, complete with wings. This is when the males start making their telltale music, and when the females are capable of laying fertilized eggs of their own.

The Unusual Habits of Cricket Reproduction

Crickets are master courters; the males use a variety of musical performances and motions to captivate a female. Some species have elaborate dances to catch the attention of the females.

Once a male and female mate and the eggs are deposited in a safe nest, male crickets continue to play a fatherly role. They’ll often guard the eggs and will even use their chirps to warn potential rivals and predators to stay away from their offspring.

While most crickets are solitary outside of mating and protecting nymphs, a few species have a more communal lifestyle. They’ll live in groups and will use their body movements and chirps to communicate about food sources and shelter.

How Crickets Keep Time With Their Circadian Rhythms

You may have noticed that crickets play their songs in harmony. How do they do that? It all comes down to their excellent timekeeping skills, which are related to their circadian rhythms.

These insects are most active at night and they rest during the day. This synchronization helps them avoid predators and helps them find food and mates. This is common in the natural world with various species of not only insects but also reptiles and some mammals.

Crickets respond to the light-dark cycle, and they also respond to the different phases of the moon. Males often adjust the frequency of their chirps based on the moons. This might have to do with their specialized photoreceptor cells, which detect even minute changes in light levels.

Final Thoughts on Cricket Biology

You might not have given crickets much thought. After all, you hear them at night when you’re outside, and you hope not to see them in your home. They’re quite complex creatures, however, and worth thinking about when you hear their melodious sounds.