Throughout history, and as far back as 500 B.C., the cricket has been synonymous with good luck and prosperity, particularly within Chinese culture. Their song, however, valued for its rhythmic and musical quality, is only produced by males of the species. Many people believe crickets make their sound when they rub their legs together. This is not true. Crickets make their sound by rubbing their wings together. Male crickets have ridges on their front wings that look a little like teeth and a hardened edge on each front wing. When a male cricket is trying to attract a mate or warn away a rival, he rubs the ridges on one wing against the hardened area of his other wing. This creates the chirping sound. The tone of the chirping will depend on how close together re ridges are on his wings. Both male and female crickets have a special auditory organ on their forelegs that lets them hear the chirps.
A cricket will continue his “song” until he attracts a mate or he senses something is wrong and danger is approaching. Crickets have been functioning as Mother Nature’s miniature early alarm systems for decades, long before mankind even dreamed up or invented warning systems and sirens. From thunderstorms to earthquakes and erupting volcanoes, if the joyful little crickets around spontaneously and without cause suddenly stop singing, it may be time to head for shelter or higher ground.
Some memorable and beloved fictional characters in books and movies are crickets. Who didn’t love ‘The Cricket of Times Square’ with his tiny violin, or the conscience-comes-to-life embodiment of Jiminy Cricket? (It must be noted here that Disney took great liberties when it came to the harsh reality of the original Pinocchio story. The real Jiminy Cricket doesn’t make it past page 6.) The likeness of a cricket has appeared on Native American totems, depicting both wisdom and protection. A cricket is even featured atop the weather vane on Boston’s Fanuel Hall.
When it comes to crickets in our everyday life, however, most of us face a very common scenario. On a soft summer evening, sitting outside on your porch, the field cricket’s gentle song is carried off in a warm breeze. At 2 a.m. in your acoustic-enhancing tile bathroom, the incessant grating chirp of the cricket is enough to send you over the edge. Crickets are nocturnal, so just when you are winding down and in need of peace and quiet, the cricket is gearing up for that evening’s performance. Crickets worldwide are notorious for providing noise where and when it is least welcome.
Crickets are omnivores. This means they will eat anything and everything. Their diet includes people food, animal food, baby food, garbage, linens, and anything containing glue–including magazines, books, and their bindings. Crickets will live in or close to a food source, so they will infest attics, store rooms, basements, wall voids, wood piles, etc. Anywhere, and just about anything that is of potential food value can become infested with crickets.