Crickets & Grasshoppers
Crickets are known for their characteristic chirping noise. It is only the male cricket that sings and he does it to attract females. When they chirp, crickets rub their teeth, located on the sharp edge of one wing, against a rough scraper on the opposite wing. This process essentially works like a bow on a violin. As the temperatures rises, their songs become louder and faster.
Size: Most crickets are generally about 1 inch long.
Color: Crickets are light tan or brown and have long, thin antennae and enlarged hind legs for jumping. The adults have wings that are held flat and overlapping on their abdomen. On the head there are three black bands that run side to side.
Diet & Habits: Crickets attack all types of material, and often it is synthetic fabrics that are most damaged, although cotton, wool and silk are attacked as well. They also feed on food such as baked goods as well as other organic matter and insects both dead and alive.
Reproduction: Females appear to be prolific, producing an average of 730 eggs. The eggs hatch within two to three months. Females use a long narrow structure called an ovipositor to deposit eggs into the ground or other damp material such as sand or peat moss. Adult crickets will often eat their own young and it is normal for some adults to die naturally after mating.
Grasshoppers are around in spring and summer, but are most abundant in the fall. In the summer and fall, grasshoppers often flutter and fly into porch lights. In Africa, very large species are prone to population surges, and are referred to as Locust Swarms.
Size: The species range in size from about 1 inch long to almost 3 inches long.
Color: Grasshoppers range in color from green to brown to black. Adults have fully developed wings that are held, at rest, roof-like over the abdomen. The front wings are narrow and long, while the hind wings are very wide and often colorful, with blue, red, orange, or yellow bands on them.
Habits: Grasshoppers can walk, hop and fly. Female grasshoppers sing by rubbing their legs against their wings, or by making an audible snapping sound with their wings while flying. They like to hide in areas with tall grasses, small vacant lots and gardens. Most grasshoppers are very destructive to plants. They sometimes undergo enormous population outbreaks, making mass migrations in search of food. Grasshoppers rarely enter structures, but can become very damaging to urban landscaped areas when populations explode.
Diet: Grasshoppers are herbivorous and feed on plants.
Reproduction: Females deposit egg pods a few inches into the soil using their ovipositor. One egg pod contains several dozens tightly packed eggs that look like rice grains. The eggs stay in place through the winter, and hatch when the weather has warmed up. The first nymph to hatch tunnels up through the ground and the rest follow.