Everything about house crickets: way of life, breeding and control

Everything about house crickets: way of life, breeding and control

the essentials in brief

  • Crickets belong to the family of crickets and are mainly found near people
  • When buying, you should pay attention to good quality: fit, strong animals and no carcasses in the packaging
  • Crickets should be fed with a mix of dry food like oatmeal or rodent pellets and fresh food like fruit and vegetables
  • Crickets can be controlled with sticky traps, white water, or barriers made of pepper and vinegar

What are crickets?

Behind the cricket there is an insect from the family of the real crickets. Its Latin name Acheta domesticus indicates behavior and way of life. Acheta is translated as singer, while the additional species domesticus refers to its frequent occurrence in domestic environments. Therefore, house crickets are sometimes referred to as house crickets.

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In the terrarium the insects serve as food for reptiles. Crickets are between 16 and 20 millimeters long. Unlike green grasshoppers, their bodies have a straw yellow basic color. The head and pronotum have a dark brown to black pattern.

Buy in a specialty store or online

You can buy crickets directly in numerous zoom markets such as Fressnapf. When deciding to buy from a pet store, there are a few things to keep in mind. Not only the price plays a role, but also the living conditions of the animals, which are often inadequate. Amazon also offers the insects at a low price, whereby ordering online has more disadvantages than advantages. If in doubt, decide to buy from other cricket breeders in your region.

Questions about purchase consideration:

  • Do crickets look fit and alive?
  • Is the manufacturer stated on the packaging?
  • Do the insects live permanently in the box?
  • Are there any dead animals in the container?


When shipping, make sure that the delivery time is as short as possible. A lack of food for just one or two days causes stress, causes cannibalism and has a negative effect on the vitality of the insects.

Instructions for growing yourself

The breeding and keeping of the insects is comparatively easy, since crickets need enough food and warm temperatures. These conditions can easily be established in a culture tank. Home-grown crickets can later be fed as live food or dried. They save the insects the stress of lack of food, which often occurs during transport from the dealer home. Pay attention to species-appropriate conditions in order to guarantee the house crickets optimal living conditions.


Materials and breeding

Use a container that is 50 x 30 x 30 centimeters. There is room for around 1,000 larvae or 500 adult crickets. Both containers made of plastic and a closable terrarium are suitable. To ensure a sufficient supply of oxygen, you should cover the opening with a mosquito net. Cover the floor with sand or wood shavings.

To lay your eggs you need a tea strainer, which you fill with substrate. Coconut fibers are suitable for this. Females can use their egg-laying apparatus to pierce the fine meshes into the substrate to lay their eggs there. At the same time, the eggs are protected in the tea strainer and cannot be eaten.

Additional rearing containers are necessary so that the larvae can develop undisturbed. After a few days, the tea strainer is taken out of the terrarium so that you can put the substrate with the eggs in a breeding container. This is filled with sand about one centimeter. Egg cartons or crumpled up newspaper provide hiding places. In the absence of such retreats, the larvae themselves reduce their population through cannibalism.


If you want to remove the adult crickets from the breeding container, you should go outside. Depending on the temperature, the insects have different agility and can escape quickly in the apartment.



Crickets should always be fed varied. You need a mix of dry and fresh food so that they get all of the nutrients they need. Purchased crickets are often exhausted because they are supplied with poor quality food. You should therefore provide your crickets with energy-rich food shortly after buying them and before feeding them. Uneaten remains of fresh food should be removed daily to prevent them from going moldy. Crickets are very susceptible to disease.

  • Dry food: wheat bran, muesli, fish feed, oatmeal, rodent pellets
  • Fresh food: fruit and vegetables, sprouts and leaves of various meadow herbs
  • Vitamin preparations: e.g. cricket breeding concentrate

Expose in the garden

At some point, many breeders have too many crickets in their terrariums that, because of their size, can no longer be fed to smaller reptiles. However, you should not release the excess animals outside, as they can quickly spread massively there. If you breed animals that will accept crickets in a dried or frozen state, you should refrain from breeding them.


Crickets in the apartment

Crickets are more frequent in the house, because here they find suitable living conditions and enough food. There is usually no danger of massive spread in your own four walls. The reason for this is the lack of substrates that are suitable for laying eggs. However, they can multiply in heated greenhouses or in warm and damp rooms in which there are potted plants. The chirping annoys all house residents, so that suitable measures are necessary to combat it.

Combat with home remedies


Isolated animals can still be easily caught and moved. In the case of mass reproduction, this measure no longer helps. A first method of getting rid of crickets is to remove the food base. Make sure the crickets can no longer find any food. However, this is not so easy, as the animals also spread in the storage cellar and, when resources are scarce, do not even stop at textiles. Various control methods with home remedies are therefore useful.

Combating with home remedies is more environmentally friendly and less costly.

Hot water

When you have discovered a hatchery, you should suck away clutches and larvae that have already hatched. Thorough cleaning ensures that all eggs are eliminated. Wipe the hatchery with a wet cloth. Larvae and eggs that are deeper in niches and crevices can cope well with moisture and water. Use water that is as hot as possible for cleaning so that the temperature in the air rises and kills larvae.

Sweet bait

To get rid of the adult crickets, you can make a bait yourself. To do this, you need an attractant that the insects cannot resist. This attractant should come in the form of a sticky liquid. If a cricket hops in, it sticks to the mass. With further movements the insect sinks into the liquid and drowns.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Mix sugar cane molasses with hot water (ratio 1: 4)
  2. Let the mixture cool down
  3. Fill into shallow bowls
  4. set up in different places in the house

Sticky traps with honey or molasses

You can build a glue trap yourself with a double-sided adhesive bench. Attach the tape in nooks like niches under cupboards and coat the tape with molasses or honey. The sweet scent attracts the insects that stick to the tape when they try to eat. The disadvantage of this method is that the animals are slow to die due to a lack of food.

Barriers with pepper and vinegar

Both spices can be found in almost every household. Crickets don't like the intense pungent smell, so you can use pepper and vinegar to keep them away. Brush entrances to supplies and potential entrances to recesses with vinegar and sprinkle with pepper. The barrier lasts for about two to three days until the odor subsides. You should then replace the walking barrier. With continued repetition, the insects will search for other sources of food and hopefully disappear from your home.

Making natural insecticide

The sap from the roots of the yellow pond rose (Nuphar lutea) contains poisonous alkaloids that are fatal to house crickets. Squeeze out the rhizomes of the aquatic plant or shred the leaves. The sap is mixed with fresh milk in a ratio of 2: 1 and refined with a little honey. The mixture is spread on the surfaces in front of the hiding places. After the crickets lick the juice, they die.

Fight chemically

To get rid of house crickets, feeding bait, glue traps or insect sprays can be used. They work in different ways and are used where the insects withdraw during the day. While the trap works without toxic ingredients, gels and sprays use various poisons. Unlike glue traps, these destroy the crickets within a short period of time, but they also pose further dangers. In addition, they must be used several times until all the insects have been killed.

Contact insecticidesfatal symptoms of paralysisharmful to the environment and health
Feeding baitfatal after admissioncontains poisonous insecticides
Glue trapsAttraction by pheromonesslow death

Way of life

Crickets avoid the light. Therefore, their chirping noises can be heard mainly from dusk. If they have found a shady place, their lutes can also be heard in the late morning. However, the insects usually hide in their burrows or in warm and humid niches during the day. During the night they are better camouflaged so that they hardly catch the eye of their enemies.

Temperatures also play a role in the activity of the crickets. At warm temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius, the crickets show their optimum activity. The lower the thermometer sinks, the more immobile the insects become. If the temperatures are too hot, they can no longer optimally regenerate their water balance and die.

Males versus females

Males and females differ in their forewings. While these show a regular diamond pattern in the females, the males have special structures on the wing surfaces. With these they generate noises that are typical of the species. They erect their forewings and spread them outward. Then they are rubbed against each other inwards and outwards, creating the typical chirps. These tones are sometimes referred to as chants because they sound melodic. The chirping serves several purposes.

The sounds of the crickets:

  • Courtship chirping : three different melodies should impress females
  • Mating chirps: short-syllable melody just before mating
  • Territory chirping : particularly loud tones should drive away competitors



This technical term conceals a form of noise generation that is typical of house crickets, grasshoppers and longhorn beetles. They rub certain parts of their bodies against one another in order to communicate with their fellow species. Crickets have a particularly rough vein with 140 fine teeth on their right wing. There is a shrill edge on the left wing. When the crickets rub their wings together, the teeth start to vibrate. They generate a quiet chirping, which is amplified by a flexible membrane in the wing and spread in the environment.

Grilling vs. Crickets


Crickets represent a family with more than a hundred species. These include species such as crickets, steppe crickets, Mediterranean crickets or short-winged crickets, which are preferred as food for reptiles that have been bred. They differ in size and development times. Jumping behavior and vocalizations also show differences.

SoundsJumping behaviorbreeding
Cricketsaccording tobig leapseasy
Mediterranean cricketextremely loudjumps only a littlea little more difficult
Steppe cricketquietlyhardly jumpseasy
Short-winged grillmoderatevery long jumpseasy

Larvae hatch

About two to three days after mating, females lay their eggs in the moist soil. The clutch can contain between 800 and 2,600 eggs. The number depends largely on the diet of the female. If it has eaten mainly animal food, more eggs are produced than with a plant-based diet.

The eggs are able to absorb moisture. This causes them to swell so that they double their weight. Certain temperatures are necessary for larvae to hatch. If the temperature is 16 degrees Celsius, it takes about 54 days to develop into a larva. If the thermometer shows continuously 35 degrees Celsius, the larvae hatch after about eight days.

Ideal substrates for laying eggs:

  • Vegetable scraps
  • Sawdust
  • Potted plant soil


The larvae, which are initially brightly colored, have no wings and can therefore only crawl. They go through between nine and 16 larval stages until they molt into a fully grown cricket. This development lasts between 80 and 130 days and depends on temperature and food availability. If they are given enough plant-based food, they will complete their development within ten weeks.

What do crickets eat?

Crickets are omnivores that feed on both plant debris and animal tissue. Animal food is preferred because it provides more energy and the crickets can reproduce better. They are considered to be good recyclers of kitchen waste, leftover food and carrion.

The crickets cover their water needs with their food, so they like to consume food that contains water. Since they do not shy away from food in the household, house crickets are considered hygiene pests. If the food is poor or scarce, cannibalism can result.

Natural enemies

The predators include all animals that feed on larger insects. Crickets do not have any toxic ingredients. They are rich in protein and can hardly defend themselves against larger predators. Your only protection is the darkness of the night. If danger threatens, the insects retreat into niches and caves.

These animals eat house crickets:

  • Ants, spiders and wasps
  • Birds and bats
  • Frogs and lizards
Cricket bird

Natural habitat

Originally the species comes from the dry areas of Africa. In East Africa, crickets can be found up to an altitude of 2,600 meters. Today they can be found worldwide and also occur in cooler regions. The first descriptions of the species in Germany go back to the 16th century.

In Europe, however, they are tied to human settlements. Crickets feel comfortable in habitats with high humidity. If the temperatures are also consistently high, the insects find optimal living conditions. Both factors are present in compost, which develops high temperatures through fermentation processes and has constant moisture.

These are typical places of retreat:

  • Greenhouses
  • basement, cellar
  • damp underground shafts


Outside of human settlements, crickets would not survive winter in central Europe and other cooler regions outside of Africa. They have not developed any mechanisms to survive frosty temperatures, because wintering is not necessary in their natural habitat. As soon as winter sets in, animals die in nature. Once you have found a warm and humid retreat, you can survive the frosty season.

frequently asked Questions

How old do crickets get?

The life expectancy of insects depends on the temperature and the food supply. Although they develop faster at temperatures around 35 degrees Celsius, they do not survive the heat very long. At an optimal temperature between 28 and 30 degrees Celsius, the insects have a lifespan of twelve weeks.

What do crickets like to eat most?

The crickets prefer animal food, although as omnivores they also eat vegetable food. In order to breed the insects successfully, the food supply plays a major role. Crickets prefer lettuce, carrots or oatmeal.

How do crickets multiply?

If a male has lured a potential partner into his own arena with his enticing melodies, he will go to great lengths again. Females feel the males with their antennae and listen to the melodies with their ears, which are on their legs. If she likes the concert, she mounts the male. These transfer a sac filled with sperm to the female.

When do crickets fly?

Although the crickets have fully developed and functional wings, they rarely use them. Your flights can only be observed in exceptional cases when the temperatures are very high.

When do crickets chirp?

The pairing spectacle of the crickets extends from the end of April to the end of June. Then the males sit in a place near their self-dug burrows. These caves are up to 20 centimeters long. The males, who once hatched from the eggs in the shelter of the caves, use the passages as a retreat in case of danger. Their monotonous enticing melodies ring out from dusk until late at night.