The sound of crickets chirping on a summer evening is all well and good, but when that chirping is coming from your basement, it’s a whole other ballgame. Unless they’re provoked, crickets won’t bite. What they’ll do instead is jump all over your food (and considering they carry diseases like E.coli and Salmonella, that’s really not a good thing), munch holes in your clothes, take bites out of your furniture, destroy your paperwork, and keep you up all night with their never-ending chatter. If your days and nights are being ruined by armies of unwanted house guests, here’s what you need to know about how to get rid of crickets in the basement.
How to Spot Signs of a Cricket Infestation
A lone cricket that’s somehow managed to find its way into your home isn’t a problem. An infestation, on the other hand, most definitely is. While crickets aren’t poisonous, they can damage furniture, lay waste to papers, and infect food supplies with bacteria and disease. Although they’re expert hiders, spotting an infestation isn’t difficult. If you’ve noticed any ragged edges on carpets and rugs, large holes in your clothes, mandible marks on furniture, and heard that distinctive chirping at night, take it as a call to action.
How to Get Rid of Crickets in the Basement
The first step in making your basement a cricket-free zone is to find out exactly where they’re hiding. Crickets tend to prefer dark, hidden spots, so check underneath any furniture, boxes, and appliances for signs. If you’re struggling to find the source of the infestation, simply dim the lights then follow the noise. As crickets tend to go silent when they sense a presence, stealth tactics might be needed. Once you’ve found the main area of infestation, get to work with these handy hints.
Get the Vacuum Out
As Hunker says, vacuuming won’t get rid of crickets quite so effectively as cricket bait and some of the other tactics we’ll look at shortly, but it’s a quick, effective way to get the ones in plain sight. It’s also a good way to clear any eggs, which, left unchecked, can quickly turn a minor problem into a major one. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter to thoroughly vacuum the entire area, paying particular attention to the edges of carpeting, rugs, and underneath furniture. Once you’ve finished, immediately dispose of the contents in a sealed bag away from the house.
Invest in a Cricket Bait
Crickets are a common problem. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of products on the market that can help tackle an infestation. Granular cricket baits like Intice will quickly and efficiently stop an infestation in its tracks. Simply sprinkle it around the basement, paying particular attention to areas of heavy infestation, and then wait for it to do its magic.
Make a Water Cricket Trap
As floorcleaningtools.com notes, a simple, homemade cricket trap is one of the easiest (and cheapest!) ways of eradicating a cricket infestation from your basement. Best of all, it’s completely non-toxic, making it ideal for families with small children or pets who’d rather avoid potentially harmful chemicals. All you’ll need is a clear jar or bowl, some tap water, and a few spoons of molasses. Start by half filling the jar/bowl with water. Add two to three teaspoons of molasses and shake or stir the solution until the molasses dissolves. Place the trap in the basement overnight. By the next morning, you should find the solution swimming with crickets. Clean out and replace the solution with a new batch of molasses and continue to repeat the process until all the crickets have gone.
Try a Sticky Paper Glue Trap
Sticky paper glue traps don’t just work on flies. If you have kids or animals, they’re a safe, effective way to clear a cricket problem in a matter of days. The traps are readily available at DIY stores and online: once you’ve got them, simply set them up in areas of high infestation and near access points like walls, windows, and doorways.
Make a Boric Acid Trap
Boric acid is readily available in tablet, powder, and pill form. To make an efficient cricket trap, make up a mixture of two cups of cornmeal and two teaspoons of boric acid and scatter a few bowls around the basement. As boric is mildly toxic, be sure to keep it out of reach of children and pets.
Seal Them Out
Crickets love dark, moist places like basements. Regardless of what method you use to deal with your current infestation, you’ll need to make sure that their access points are sufficiently sealed to stop them from ever coming back. One of the best methods for sealing any gaps and openings is to use caulking, which will last for around 7 years and can be applied by just about anyone, regardless of their DIY skills.
Zap Them With Bug Spray
Bug sprays aren’t for everyone, but if you’re not sensitive to the ingredients and don’t mind introducing some chemicals into your home, they’re a very quick, very easy way to get rid of crickets. Simply spray it around the areas the crickets like to gather, along with any access points like cracks, doors, and windows, then wait for the dead bodies to start piling up.
Dealing with a cricket infestation is not that difficult…. once. But if you have to keep doing it every few weeks, the joys of making homemade molasses traps and counting the dead bodies every morning will soon wear thin. If you’d rather not repeat the process again, take some time out to make the basement as unfriendly to pests as possible. Cardboard boxes and storage containers are magnets to crickets, so get rid of as many as possible. If you have piles of old clothes hanging around, consider donating them to charity. Remember, the less clutter there is, the more inhospitable it’ll be to troublesome critters.
Change Your Lighting
Crickets might be attracted to dark, hidden places but, like most insects, they can’t resist the allure of a bright light at night. To make your home less appealing, do as yardandgardenguru.com suggests and remove any bright bulbs from your light fixtures, especially outdoor ones. Replace them with lower-lighting “bug lights” or amber LED lights, both of which will help deter crickets and other insects. You might also find it helpful to draw your blinds and shades at night to stop the light from attracting passing pests.