Field crickets are found throughout the United States and southern Canada. They live in or on the ground in bushes, and feed on plant parts or animal matter. They are mostly nocturnal, and males are heard singing on summer nights. They may invade structures when the grasses dry out or during periods of cricket abundance. Field crickets are apparently not able to adapt themselves to conditions in houses and eventually die.
Field crickets have large heads, with long threadlike antennae and spear-shaped ovipositors. They vary in length from 3/5 to 1 inch. The color is usually dark brown to gray to black, but occasionally light brown specimens are seen. This species flies and jumps well. Wings are fully developed. Hearing organs occur on both sides of the front tibia. Their “music” is made by vibrating the upper wings against each other. Only the adult male makes the chirping noise. Females and young are unable to chirp.
Field crickets lay their eggs singly at shallow depths in the ground in late August and September. They may lay anywhere from 150 to 400 eggs. Most of the eggs overwinter in the ground and hatch in May and June.
The newly hatched cricket can walk, run and jump immediately. It passes through from 8 to 10 stages of growth (instars) before becoming an adult in 78 to 90 days. Hibernation occurs in the egg stage and, to a lesser degree, in the nymphal stage in the 5th and 6th instars. Adults appear in July and August, mate, and usually die when the first cold weather sets in.
Field crickets can damage ornamental plants and shrubs. In homes, they damage textiles (cotton, linen, wool, and silk) as well as fur. Clothing and paper, especially if stained or soiled, are liable to injury. Even nylon, wood, plastic, leather, and thin rubber goods can be damaged.