Any ideas for getting rid of crickets in the garden?

mcaren(8, Va. Beach, VA)September 28, 2007

I've got sand-colored crickets all over the place, and they're eating the plants almost as badly as the Japanese beetles did earlier. They love peppers.

Has anyone had success getting rid of them?

Thanks. alliemack.

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This time of year they're all over the place, aren't they? We keep finding them in the house, and maybe they're eating my peppers too - something has been ever since the seasons began to shift.

I wonder if it is possible to try to draw them to another part of the yard? Mostly the crickets in my yard live in the pine needle mulch in one of my big flower beds. They tend to stay out of the veg beds. But my crickets are large and dark brown - maybe it depends what kind you have, where they like to live?

I love hearing the crickets sing at night.

Are you sure it is the crickets that are eating your plants? I didn't know they did that.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2007 at 10:37PM
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I go out at night and all I hear are crickets. I go into the garage and I hear crickets. I go into the basement and I hear crickets.

No, I do not believe they are controllable. There are too many of them. One could nuke their plants with all manner of toxins and the instant it wore off the crickets would still be there.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 1:15AM
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Since crickets are part of many other predators diets you would not want to eliminate them, just control them a bit, help the predators control them a bit. A protozoan that has been found to be relatively good for this is the "Nosema locustae" pathogen in grain baits that only adversly affects these, somewhat like the Bacillus pathogens only adversly affect certain other insect species.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 7:11AM
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mcaren(8, Va. Beach, VA)

Thanks everyone. I know it is the crickets eating the peppers, because they're crawling out of the holes they've eaten!

I am very bacteria/virus/protozoa ignorant, but wonder if I could use any of that stuff anyway -- we live on the Lynnhaven River, and our area is in the midst of trying to bring clean up the local watershed and revive Lynnhaven oyster populations. I'm not sure what things like that do for filter-feeders...

Oh well. I think the whole predator/pest relationship is out of whack here. I read a post somewhere connecting our mosquito problem to pesticides -- that local purple martins left the area because the spraying had gotten rid of their food supply. Now the food supply is eating me alive and there are no purple martins to be found... that I've heard of locally, anyway.

Organica -- not sure how to draw them away in our yard; we've got lots of pine trees on the perimiter of our yard and tons of mulch & pine needles, but they still seem to prefer the garden veggies. I tried to ID them on (love that site!), but am not sure -- I think they might be "bush crickets." I haven't researched them, but hopefully they'll be gone this month. Guess I'll just buy peppers at the market...

Thanks again. alliemack

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 1:09AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

You said:
"I know it is the crickets eating the peppers, because they're crawling out of the holes they've eaten!"

Likely they find the interior of the peppers a safe refuge. It doesn't prove that they damaged the peppers.

To accurately pin the blame, it's best to find the critter in the act of eating the pepper or whatever. I would continue to look for the true culprit(s).

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 2:54PM
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mcaren(8, Va. Beach, VA)

Jean001 -- Your point is a good one. I've kept an eye on the garden fairly closely throughout the summer, and the only pests I've seen HUGE numbers of have been earwigs (which I think were eating my arugula in the spring), squash vine borers, ants (which I haven't noticed eating the plants directly), termites, and crickets. We've got an odd cucumber beetle/thrip/squash bug, but not hoards of them. Since late July when the temps here were growing unbearable I had not noticed that much leaf/fruit damage from pests -- more fungal/diseased stuff.

There must have been at least 3 of these light tan-colored crickets emerging from the pepper fruit I last saw, and I'd seen a few in one fruit the week prior. Would they really hide in pepper fruits that were over 50% eaten?

I did a search on "crickets, pepper plants" and got a lot of hits, so maybe they do eat them. Or maybe a lot of people are making the same mistake I am and are blaming the wrong bug.

I don't know if the two are related, but something is also eating some hardy hibiscus plants. I haven't noticed much chewing damage on other plants...

Thank you for the info.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 11:49PM
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Yes, I remember reading something about the cricket-pepper thing a while back, that identified some other critter as what makes the holes that the crickets then like to use.

The skeeters have been awful here - I can't imagine what they must be like nearer to a body of water. Maybe we humans will meet our end due to our own pesticide use.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 6:43AM
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mcaren(8, Va. Beach, VA)

Yes, the mosquitoes here are awful. (I'm like the person who responded to the mosquito post (tclynx) who said they'll go for the eyelids & will bite through denim -- I'm finding that they'll bite through the 25% deet OFF after 20 minutes or so (and even then it's hard to drench every last part of yourself...). The heavy-duty 98% (or whatever) stuff works great -- but is utterly gross and disolved my phone! (I sprayed my ears.) I've had some commercial insecticide staring me in the face for about a year -- and I practically salivate when I look at it -- it's all I can do not to spray the bushy perimeter of my yard (where they tend to hide).

I found more crickets jumping off of my squash plant today; not sure what they're doing with it. They fade into the old mulch fairly well -- not sure why they'd want to hide on the green plants...

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 5:59PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

1. Bird bath
2. Bird houses
3. Bird feeder

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 11:48PM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

I was reading that beneficial nematodes eat the larva of several different kinds of crickets because they overwinter in the soil. This won't help your issue this year, but could prevent it happening next year, because you know all those little buggers are going to be reproducing.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 12:14AM
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denno(z7 NC)

I would suggest either crickets, or in my area, probably the grasshoppers. With the drought continuuing, I think many insects are drawn to the gardens because we water them when the dry season comes. I certainly noticed more insect damage this year, and actually saw the grasshoppers eating into some tomatoes to get at the moisture, I presume. I also had many peppers showing holes in them, and they were all near the ground level.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 6:29AM
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I have about 45 raised beds in the kitchen garden. Many are covered with multi layers of paper and topped with lots of spoiled hay as mulch. Crickets are every where, and then some. Never have i seen evidence of them eating into peppers or any other vegies here. I would also guess that they hide out in peppers, thru holes made by others. They feed on all kinds of organic matter, but as to plants - seems limited to seedlings. I would like to identify a pest that makes holes in my peppers - about 1/2 to 3/4" long larvae - black with orangeish markings up and down the body.. Those DO make holes. They crawl quite fast on my cutting board when i cut the peppers to process them. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 12:16AM
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There is something known as a pepper maggot - maybe that's what you've got there.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 8:36PM
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Backyard chickens

    Bookmark   October 13, 2007 at 1:26AM
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we have problems with crickets in the autumn eating our cougette seedlings as they appear so the comments about them not eating plants is false in our part of the world anyway so has anyone got a good way of killing them?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 5:45PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Have you tried all the suggestions listed above and found them to be unsatisfactory?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 7:18PM
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I did this in my front yard, it was suggested to me by a guy at the Sego Nursery. I buried a small container filled with one part molasses and 9 parts water, up to it's brim. The crickets loved it so much they'd crawl in and drown. I had to dig it out, clean out the clog of dead crickets and refill it. It didn't get rid off all the crickets, but it knocked them back to almost unnoticeable levels.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 4:24PM
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Buy a chicken?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 7:36PM
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rj_hythloday(8A VA)

I have bird feeders , I think the top of my second water barrell will serve as a bird bath. I also have an apple gourd I made into a bird house that I need to paint and hang. I'd have chickens if I could. If the cucurbits have as much trouble as last year I may imploy some beneficial nematodes.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 11:08AM
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