Size: Field crickets grow to 1 or 1 1/2 inch long.
Color: Field crickets are black, compared with the tan or light brown house crickets. They have long, thin antennae and long, enlarged hind legs designed for jumping. They also have two large spikes (called cerci) that extend from the back of their abdomens. Adults have wings.
Habits: Field crickets are seen and heard during late summer and fall. They are generally found outdoors, but have been known to invade homes in search of warm hiding places in the colder months. Once indoors, they can cause damage to fabrics, paper, leather, furs and other materials indoors. They also cause tremendous destruction to outdoor landscaping. Field crickets are subject to huge population surges, and may become extremely abundant virtually overnight.
What Do Field Crickets Eat?: Field Crickets eat plant material including seeds and small fruits. They also eat both living and dead insects. If they become very hungry, field crickets will cannibalize each other.
Reproduction: After mating, female field crickets look for damp soil in which to lay their eggs. They inject a needle-like ovipositor deep into the soil to deposit 50 or so eggs. Females lay 150 to 400 eggs over the course of their short life cycle. Eggs hatch in the spring, usually in May. Young crickets are called nymphs. They eat a great deal and grow very quickly, shedding their outer skin about eight times as they mature. Each time they molt, they look more like adults.
Other Information: Field crickets are fully mature at about two months old and begin looking for mates. Males sing and dance to attract females. The song is made by rubbing the front wings together and females hear it through tympanum (eardrums) on their front legs. When a female approaches a male, he does a back and forth courtship dance. Adult and nymphs die when cold weather arrives, but eggs beneath the soil survive to hatch in spring.