Facts about crickets insects , their size, diet, dwellings, why and how they sing.
The cricket (Acheta assimilis) is one member of the Orthopterans, along with the grasshopper and katydid. One classic commonality among them is their good vision and hearing. Having compound eyes, they are able to see in many directions at once. Over 10,000 different species of the three exist, with the cricket making up approximately 1000 of the different species. The remaining 9,000 are split almost evenly among the grasshopper and katydid, the grasshopper having a slight lead.
Crickets are said to foretell good luck. Their songs are said to bring blessings to all that are lucky enough to hear them. In many parts of the world, a cricket found in the house will be treated with respect. Often, they are placed in small cages made especially for them, given food and water, and hopefully able to live a long life, as the longer they live, the more good luck they bring. Others say to leave them as they are, and if they stay, it means large amounts of money will come to the owners of the dwelling.
While crickets have wings, the majority of them do not fly. The wings are often too small to be of any use and lie useless across the back. Most get about by jumping from place to place, and through time, have developed legs that are built for jumping at great heights when put in comparison to their size. Crickets vary in size from specie to specie, with most being in the range of ½" to 1". One species that appears to clean up after ants in the ant's own house is smaller than ¼'. The common house cricket is usually on the smaller end, most often not being much over the ½" range. As their name suggests, these are most commonly found around and inside houses. The field cricket is at the other end of the size range, averaging 1" in length, they are found in fields throughout the warmer summer months, or burrowed beneath rocks, and other debris. Woodpiles, those in your backyard for the winter woodstove, are also a favorite stomping ground for them to build their burrows.
A cricket usually lives less than one year, though as I stated earlier, if they can find a warm house, or better, someone to make them a home and provide water and food, their life span can be lengthened. As a rule though, as winter approaches, the female will look for the perfect spot to lay her eggs. This is generally on the ground. When spring arrives, the new cricket, or nymph, hatches looking very muck like an adult cricket, only minus his or her wings. Through several molts, casting off their skin, they grow larger, and develop their wings.
The singing of the cricket is the main reason so many people throughout time have both welcomed them into their homes, where most insects are not wanted, and believed them to bring good fortune and luck. They make their beautiful song by rubbing parts of their body together. Crickets use their otherwise often useless wings to make their song. While occasionally this is accomplished by the female of the species, the majority of the time it is the males. They sing to call in mates, and to warn other males that they have entered the territory of another male. An added benefit of their chirping to us, as colder weather arrives, is to listen to how many chirps they emit each minute. By dividing this count by 4, and adding the number 40, you will arrive at the approximate Fahrenheit temperature outside.
If you believe that crickets are vegetarians, you would only be part right. The main part of a cricket's diet is greens, including fresh seedlings, garden fresh fruits, tomatoes, and has even at times been the cause of whole fields being destroyed. This latter destruction is usually attributed to grasshoppers, but crickets have been known to reap similar damage to fields during dry spells, causing large groups to travel together in search of food. If left unchecked in houses, especially in large numbers, they will cause damage to clothing and other fabrics. They also have been known to feed on other insects, as in the smaller ones that live among ants.