These Are The 5 Most Common Crickets in the United States

There are more than 10 different cricket species found in the United States. These five are the ones you’re most likely to encounter.

There are 900 species of cricket in the world, from huge and colorful tropical beasts to the ones you buy in that inflated clear plastic bag to feed to a pet lizard. Most, though not all of them, make that distinctive chirping noise for males to communicate with females. They are among the friendliest of insects—not that they’re affectionate, but they have essentially no defensive mechanisms like teeth or venom. Here in the United States, there are more than ten different cricket species, some of which you’ve almost certainly encountered, and some you may not have. We rounded up the most common crickets you might run across.

Fall Field Cricket

Male fall field cricket
In most of the United States, when you think “cricket,” you’re probably thinking of this little guy. Kevin Judge/Wikimedia Commons

It’s a dark brown to black fellow, growing as long as an inch, and notable for its extremely long, powerful hind legs. (Like all true insects, the fall field cricket has six legs, so we’re talking about the pair all the way in the back here.) Most fall field crickets can fly, though not all of them.

Female field cricket
Female fall field cricket. Kevin Judge/Wikimedia Commons

The ones that can’t fly, according to Penn State University, seem to devote more of their attention and muscle mass to tasks other than flight; they’ve been found to be more fertile than the fall field crickets that are capable of flight. But all fall field crickets have wings, and use those wings to make the classic cricket chirping noise. Wondering where that noise comes from? It’s not a vocalization like a cat’s meow; it’s actually made by scraping the left wing across the right wing, like a violin.

An adult male fall field cricket
Crickets actually perform a song with their chirps. Kevin Judge/Wikimedia Commons

Males compose and perform a three-note song, while females reply with a simpler two-note song. Amazingly, the crickets change their songs according to the outside temperature: apparently you can guess the temperature by counting the number of chirps a male fall field cricket makes in 13 seconds, then adding 40. Presto: you’ve got the temperature in Fahrenheit.

Fall field cricket
Ground cricket. Cody Hough/Wikimedia Commons

The fall field cricket is widespread across North America. You can find it in Ontario, in Florida, in Michigan and New York. The only places you can’t find it are in the arid southwest, including Southern California. It’s also not particular about its habitat, making its home in fields, forests, caves, and inside people’s houses. It especially likes basements and outhouses.

Extreme closeup of cricket face
Fall field crickets will eat just about anything, though they prefer certain kinds of grasses and weeds. Sam Droege/Wikimedia Commons

They will, though, sometimes eat crops, which gives them a reputation as a pest, and have even been known to eat plant-derived clothing made from cotton or linen. That’s pretty annoying, but to be fair, basically every animal will eat a cricket: birds, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, even other insects.

House Cricket

Common house cricket
This little fellow is likely what you’re familiar with if you’ve ever had a pet lizard or frog, because it’s by far the most common cricket used as live pet food. Luis Fernández García/Wikimedia

The house cricket is smaller than the fall field cricket, usually around half an inch in length, and it’s much lighter in color—more of a tannish-grey than the dark brownish-black of the field cricket. But you can also find it in the wild, especially in the eastern United States, where it’s common from southern Maine to Georgia and as far west as Kansas.

Bunch of crickets on blue background.
House crickets cannot be found in Florida.David J. Stang/Wikimedia Commons

Interestingly, according to the University of Florida, the one place on the East Coast where the house cricket can’t be found is in, well, Florida. “Why it fails to survive in peninsular Florida is not known,” write researchers at that university’s entomology department. What a mystery! It also, like the field cricket, is not widely found in the western United States, which might be due to their origin story.

House cricket
House crickets aren’t native to North America.Brian Gratwicke/Wikimedia Commons

House crickets aren’t actually native to North America; it’s widely guessed that they’re actually from Southwestern Europe, around Turkey. Perhaps there’s something about the climate of the American West that doesn’t agree with them. In any case, you’re most likely to find them around humans, especially near garbage, which is gross.

Common house cricket
The house cricket’s claim to fame might be that it’s generally considered the tastiest cricket species for humans. Aiwok/Wikimedia Commons

Eating insects is common in much of the world, and the house cricket is consumed from Thailand to Mexico. You can find it dry-roasted or deep-fried, and recently in the United States there’s been a trend to roast and then grind the crickets into a high-protein, low-fat flour. That flour can be used in energy drinks or baked goods, all kinds of stuff.

Camel Cricket

Greenhouse camel cricket
The camel cricket is an interloper, a sneaky creature that has become a major insect in the US without anyone even realizing it. Katja Schulz/Creative Commons

We’re talking here specifically about Tachycines asynamorus, usually known as the greenhouse camel cricket, because there are many different species of camel cricket, including some that are native to the New World. But this little guy has a different story.

Greenhouse camel cricket
The greenhouse camel cricket is native to East Asia, including China and the Korean peninsula, and it, like the other camel crickets, is named for its distinctive curved back.Katja Schulz/Creative Commons

This particular camel cricket is about half an inch long, a pale tan with darker brown stripes or splotches. It’s a little bit spider-y looking, which has given it the nickname “spricket,” a portmanteau of spider and cricket.

Baby camel cricket
It was known to be in the US for decades, but was assumed to not be particularly widespread until a 2014 study from entomologists at North Carolina State University. Katja Schulz/Creative Commons

Those researchers, after seeing a few of these crickets in the basements of colleagues, conducted a citizen science research project to call on regular people to send in photos or specimens of any camel-cricket-like bugs they could find. Their research indicated that the greenhouse camel cricket is, in the Eastern United States, now more widespread than any native camel cricket species.

Camel cricket
The researchers found the greenhouse camel cricket was especially common in the Southeast and Appalachian states. Dendroica cerulea/Creative Commons

The researchers set up some traps themselves in Raleigh, and captured a whopping 158 greenhouse camel crickets. It’s likely that this is now one of the most common cricket species in the country, and nobody noticed for decades.

Ground Cricket

Ground cricket
This cricket is easily mistaken for just a small field cricket, because it looks pretty similar: that classic squat, dark brown body, found in similar places in similar parts of the country.Piet Spaans/Wikimedia Commons

But don’t be fooled! That would be embarrassing. There are several different species of ground cricket, and they’re all their own beings.

Common ground cricket
You can find these crickets in Maine and Montana, in Georgia and Oklahoma. Jenn Forman Orth/Creative Commons

One of the most common is Allard’s ground cricket. Named after pioneering botanist and entomologist Harry Allard, who worked with the USDA in the mid-20th century, Allard’s ground cricket is common in grassy fields throughout the country, besides the Southwest. You can find it in Maine and Montana, in Georgia and Oklahoma. One website describes its chirping as “lovely.” Judge for yourself! Here’s some audio recordings of it.

Ground cricket
Ground crickets are very common to find in recently mown lawns, and you’ll also find them drowned in pools, which they seem to be attracted to despite their danger. Judy Gallagher/Wikimedia Commons

Their calls are different than other crickets, with a continuous trill rather than an isolated song, as the field crickets have.

Carolina ground cricket
Similar to the Allard’s ground cricket—cheers if you can tell them apart—is the Carolina ground cricket. Brian Henderson/Creative Commons

Despite its name, it’s one of the most common and widespread species in the country, found throughout the United States except in the northwesternmost states, like Washington and Oregon. Have you ever turned over a rock and found a bunch of tiny crickets sprinting away? There’s a decent chance they were these guys.

Tree Cricket

Common tree cricket
Of all the crickets, these are the ones most likely to fool you into thinking they’re something other than a cricket.Jenn Forman Orth/Creative Commons

Living, as their name implies, in trees, bushes, and shrubs, the tree crickets are colored to blend in with their greener surroundings, and are often a delicate pale green. There are 18 different tree cricket species in North America, though some aren’t very common.

Common tree cricket
One of the absolute weirdest things about the tree crickets is their mating techniques.Jenn Forman Orth/Creative Commons

Males deposit, from a gland, some sweet-smelling goop that the females begin eating while the male deposits his sperm. That goop has some vital nutrients in it; the more the females eat, the higher their chance of giving birth.

Common tree crickets
Despite their large and delicate-looking wings, tree crickets do indeed chirp like most of the other cricket species, though only the males are able to. Lon&Queta/Creative Commons

Their chirping is a little different from, say, a field cricket; it’s long and continuous, sounding a little bit more like a cicada. Those calls have a lot of information in them: the deeper the call, the larger (and thus more attractive) the male, for example.

Cricket sitting in a yellow flower
Tree crickets are found across the country, though different species prefer different areas. stonebird/Creative Commons

The broad-winged tree cricket lives in the eastern half of the country, as far north as Pennsylvania and as far west as eastern Texas. The four-spotted tree cricket can be found nationwide, even up into southern Canada. For a more detailed guide, check out Songs of Insects.