Landscape pests-Cricket and katydid


True cricket (Gryllidae)

Katydid (Tettigoniidae) including Mormon cricket (Anabrus simplex, a shield-backed katydid)

Pest description and damage Most crickets, Mormon crickets and katydids have a leathery pair of front wings and membranous pair of hind wings; females have a sword-like ovipositor. The true crickets have a more flattened back than grasshoppers or katydids. Males stridulate using various structures, e.g., crickets rub their forewings together and lift their wings to amplify the sound. Crickets are omnivorous scavengers and eat seeds, organic detritus or dead insects. They are rarely a problem in landscapes and provide a pleasant nocturnal sound outdoors. Mormon crickets are technically katydids yet their colors are variable, and their wings reduced so they are flightless. Mormon cricket populations occasionally become epidemic. They migrate by crawling and can move more than one mile per day. Crossing roads, their crushed bodies form slick masses that become a safety hazard for motorists. Katydids, or long-horned, grasshoppers, are generally green with oval, leathery wings. Their body is flattened from side to side and the wings are leaf-shaped, even bearing veins, fungal leaf spots and holes similar to damaged leaves. They feed on tender leaves of deciduous plants (especially oaks).

Biology and life history The true crickets lay eggs by pushing their ovipositor into the soil and inserting the eggs. The overwintering eggs hatch in spring. The young look like mini-adults. Older instars develop visible wing buds. Some species of crickets lay eggs almost continuously through the summer. Katydids lay their flat eggs overlapping like shingles on the bark of twigs in autumn.

Pest monitoring This group is mostly nocturnal; small numbers rarely warrant control measures.

Management-cultural control

Usually none needed.

Management-biological control

Many animals, birds, and insectivores eat grasshoppers, crickets and katydids. There are commercially-packaged micro-organisms that serve as bio-control specifically for these insect pests.

Management-chemical control

Not recommended for home landscapes.