It goes by many names: the cave weta, cave cricket, camelback cricket, sand treaders and spider cricket. This species, widespread in the United States and in the world, can be found in caves, as well as damp, cool areas underneath leaves, stones and rotting logs. They can also be accidental invaders of your humble abode, taking up real estate during the summer and fall in dark and damp places like your basement, shed or crawl space.
Often congregating in large numbers, these creepy critters are just as afraid of you as you are of them. The difference, however, is that when they are scared, they tend to jump directly at the object they’re frightened by. This leaping mechanism is their only defense to scare off predators, since they do not possess sound producing organs, and do not have wings.
Having garnered the nickname “camel” due to their humpbacks, spider crickets are light to dark brown in color, and often mottled with dark bands on some segments. They have six legs, with very enlarged hind legs, antennae and measure 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches long.
These buggers love to feast on fungus, fabric, carpets, wood, cardboard, dust, plants and even each other. Blame it on their incredibly strong mandibles for being able to chew through many different household items.
Spider crickets aren’t known to bite humans, but if they land on your skin, their mandibles will get to work gnawing away, which can cause noticeable pain. With all this information, you’re probably ready to learn how to keep them from invading your home, right?
Your best bet to prevent spider crickets from entering your home is to seal or caulk openings on the lowest level. You should also keep your basement or crawl space dry, clutter-free and well-lit.
“For existing infestations, it is important to locate and eliminate all possible breeding conditions,” explains the pest experts at Orkin. “Piles of damp wood or leaves in or surrounding the structure should be removed. The basement or crawl space should be kept ventilated and dry. Placing screens on crawls pace vents and basement windows can also help to keep these crickets out.”