What is a Chimney Cricket?
Chimney crickets are small insects which resemble miniature spiders. They are commonly found in damp areas such as chimneys or other open spaces. They are not dangerous but they do cause irritation if touched. A few species have been known to bite humans, however these bites usually don’t result in any long term effects.
The name “chimney” comes from their habit of living in chimneys.
How to Identify Chimney Crickets?
A typical adult male cricket measures between 0.5mm and 1mm in length. Females are larger, growing to between 1mm and 2.5mm.
Identifying male chimney crickets is easy as they are wingless and have long antennae. They also have large eyes. His appearance is fairly similar to the grasshoppers and other long-horned creatures. The notable differences include shorter antennae and wings which cover the entire body. These features are missing in true bugs.
Females can be harder to identify, due to their smaller size and the fact they have wings. They also have shorter antennae than males. However some species feature wings which do not cover the entire body.
Why Are Chimney Crickets Called “Roof Crickets”?
Chimney crickets are normally found inside chimneys, hence their name. However, they are sometimes also found in basements or other damp areas. They aren’t usually found outside. If they are, there is a reasonable chance that they will have entered your house.
Do Chimney Crickets Bite?
Most adult chimney crickets do not bite humans. The few species which do have mouth parts which can only bite humans around the lips or other softer areas of skin. Bites usually result in some pain and swelling. However these effects are not usually serious and rarely last longer than a few days. If you suspect you have been bitten, take steps to treat the area with anti-inflammatory medication and see a doctor if the pain persists.
Are Chimney Crickets Poisonous?
Most adult chimney crickets are not poisonous. The few species which are occasionally produce a toxin which can be harmful to humans. The most common effects are numbness and swelling in the area of the bite. Secondary infection is also a risk if the wound is not cleaned properly.
Do Chimney Crickets Jump or Fly?
Chimney crickets have wings which enable them to fly or jump short distances. The wings are located on the upper part of their body and are covered by a hard shell-like structure. These wings are not used for long distance flying and are primarily used for short hops or to ensure a safe landing.
What Do Chimney Crickets Eat?
Chimney crickets eat plants, fruits and vegetables. They occasionally scavenge for meat but these types of foods only form a small part of their diet. Since they are mostly active at night, they go unnoticed while feeding.
How Do You Get Rid of Chimney Crickets?
Chimney crickets can enter a building in a similar way to spiders, via the door frame. They can also enter via window frames or other similar structures. If you have detected chimney crickets in your home, you should thoroughly check these areas to ensure there are no external entry points. You should also check the surrounding grounds as chimney crickets will often find their way into the surrounding area when inside a building.
If you find any external entry points or areas within your home, you should treat these with insecticide. One commonly used is the extensive use of boric acid. This is a fairly safe product and is suitable for use in a home environment. One downside is that it can take a few days to start seeing results.
Do I Need Professional Help?
If you have encountered a serious infestation or have tried to deal with the problem yourself and failed, you may need the services of a professional pest control expert. These professionals have the knowledge and resources to quickly identify and deal with the problem. If you suspect pets or children have been exposed to any toxic substances, you should contact a professional straight away.
Pest control professionals have access to a much wider range of insecticides which are highly effective in dealing with chimney crickets. They also have better insight into identifying problems areas which should be treated to eliminate possible re-infestations. If you feel you need assistance with a pest control issue, it is a good idea to consult with a professional.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Building a better chimney (CA Subasic – wenatcheehomeinspection.com)
- Fireplaces and chimneys (AA Biggs – 1968 – books.google.com)
- Effects of X Ray upon the Snowy Tree Cricket, Oecanthus nigricornis argentinus (EP Beach – Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science (1903 …, 1938 – JSTOR)
- Physiological variation in the snowy tree-cricket, Oecanthus niveus De Geer (BB Fulton – Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 1925 – academic.oup.com)
- A Huff, and a Puff, and… It Blew the Chimney Down (KS Lee, GS Dunlap, DM Killian – Forensic Engineering 2009 …, 2010 – ascelibrary.org)
- The chimney sweep (A Coleman, T McKenna, V Littlewood – 1992 – shipbourne.com)