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What Are Jerusalem Crickets – and Are They a Problem?

May 17, 2024

By Rachel Maldonado

What Are Jerusalem Crickets – and Are They a Problem?

The enigmatic Jerusalem cricket – a creature that has been the source of both curiosity and caution among pest control enthusiasts and homeowners alike. 

From its otherworldly appearance to its sporadic invasion into homes, the Jerusalem cricket remains a topic edging the fine line between urban legend and backyard reality. 

In this guide, we’ll uncover the mysteries surrounding Jerusalem crickets and arm you with the knowledge to peacefully coexist with – or effectively manage – these unexpected visitors.

Identifying Jerusalem Crickets

Renowned for their peculiar looks, Jerusalem crickets are rather large and come in shades of brown with distinctive black bands adorning their stout abdomen. 

The scariest part of their appearance: their mandibles. The formidable head and stolid mandibles of these pests give off an intimidating vibe, but in reality, Jerusalem crickets are not harmful, though they’re strong enough to cause a nip if provoked. 

Growing up to two inches in size, these insects are hard to miss, with their presence often invoking more than a second glance. They are sometimes also referred to as stone crickets or potato bugs

Natural Habitat and Behaviors of Jerusalem Crickets

Native to the western United States, Jerusalem crickets are territorial burrowers; they seek out loose soil under rocks, within crevices, and even the occasional garden bed

These crickets are predominantly nocturnal, using their powerful jaws and the odd drumming sound they produce by beating their hind legs against the ground to communicate. 

They’re also subterranean, building burrows that can be quite extensive, sometimes reaching up to three feet in depth. Their preference for darkness means that when they do emerge, they can be mistaken for a home intruder or aggressive threat, leading to unwarranted anxiety in many.

It’s important to note that there are several types of Jerusalem crickets, though most look quite similar; there are about 40 species that are native to California alone.

Are Jerusalem Crickets Harmful?

We also need to dispel some myths surrounding these creatures. Despite their intimidating looks, Jerusalem crickets are not poisonous and do not pose a significant health hazard to humans. 

Their bite, while painful, is rarely serious and, without poisonous fangs, it’s more of a ‘pinch’ than a bite. Perhaps their most harmful quality is the damage they can do to plant roots, given their omnivorous diet that includes plant materials, insects, and even the occasional small vertebrate.

However, for farmers and gardeners, Jerusalem crickets can be a real pain. Their burrowing habits can seriously damage root systems, causing plants to wilt and die. This can be particularly problematic in the case of commercially grown crops, where the financial implications are magnified. 

How to Deal With Jerusalem Crickets

Now that you know the ins and outs of what Jerusalem crickets are – and hopefully, we’ve set your fears to rest about any threat they might present – it’s time to figure out how to keep these pests away for good

Natural Deterrents

Maintaining a garden where biodiversity thrives can be your first line of defense against Jerusalem crickets, as well as many other pests.

Making sure your soil is healthy and contains a variety of flora will naturally attract predators that feed on Jerusalem crickets, such as birds and other insect-eating critters. 

You can also get proactive with your plantings. Certain plants with strong odors, like lavender or marigolds, can repel these insects, acting as a barrier to your more delicate plant life.

Mechanical Removal

For those who don’t want to rely solely on nature, physically removing Jerusalem crickets from your garden or home can be a direct and satisfying method. 

This could involve picking the crickets up with thick gloves – to protect yourself from an unwanted pinch – and relocating them to a more suitable habitat. 

Another easy tip is to place sticky board traps along walls in areas where they might be found, then disposing of the trap.

Pest Control Services

In some circumstances, particularly severe infestations or when the issue becomes too complex to handle alone, professional pest control services may be the most viable solution. 

Here at Hawx Pest Control, we offer a wide array of treatments that can help you effectively manage and remove Jerusalem crickets from your property.

Final Thoughts

Jerusalem crickets are undoubtedly fascinating creatures with a place in our ecosystems. However, when they venture into our human spaces, it can sometimes lead to problems that need addressing. 

If you’re dealing with a pest problem – be it Jerusalem crickets or any other pest – consider reaching out to Hawx Pest Control. Our knowledgeable, friendly professionals can guide you through the process of managing your pest issue with expertise and a commitment to ethical pest control practices.

We offer more than a one-time service – we offer a partnership in keeping your spaces pest-free. Join our family of satisfied customers today!

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