Q. Every fall crickets invade our home. The garage is full of them. Basement too. Sticky glue traps seem to get most of them near the sliding door so I'm pretty sure that their main house entrance is our sliding door at ground level. When I slide the door open several crickets jump from the track. Is there a way to replace the seal under the door? Or would I be better off replacing it? What would you suggest?
A. Crickets sense the change of season and seek shelter to wait out the winter. Mice too, so watch for signs of them. Your house looks like a good spot to hide out so here they come. Your slider is just one of probably a dozen potential entry points. Replacing the door with a newer door would surely help from an energy standpoint. A modern swinging door set with top to bottom weatherstripping might be tighter but donít depend on that as a cricket cure.Crickets love dark corners and dank recesses so you'll find them in outside stairwells to basements and in garages. They get into the house through tiny openings under doors and around windows and once in the house they go looking for something to drink which is why you'll frequently find them in the basement near the sump pit. I know there are different types of crickets that get into houses but they are all the same to me. Perimeter spraying with some of the available broad spectrum insecticides may reduce the numbers of crickets and other household pests such as ants but in the long run we all know it won't eliminate them. EPA has slowly but surely reduced the selection of anti-pest agents for valid health-risk reasons and the substitutes never seem to match up to the effectiveness of the banned poisons. After all, we are trying to kill living things in great numbers and in so doing we can hurt ourselves too. Some anti-insect measures attack the mechanics of the pest's body in ways that are harmless to pets and humans such as using chemicals that dehydrate. Crickets hop over that stuff and the best thing for them was a nerve agent that I agree shouldn't be used where children and pets can be exposed. Some stuff I've used in the past even made me tingle and I knew it was nasty and not good for me. You can try to reduce the entry points by making sure all the doors to the outside have tight weather-stripping especially at the thresholds. Attaching a sweep like weatherstrip piece to outside lower stile of the slider panels might help but again, donít count on it. Check the basement window perimeters and caulk as needed. The garage is a losing battle. The door stays open while cars and people come and go and so do crickets. Even closed, garage doors are notoriously loose fitting. Garages tend to be the repositories of all manner of stuff such as lawn equipment, athletic gear, boat stuff, grilles, bicycles etc, providing dozens of little nooks and crannies where crickets can hide. They love garbage cans. I generally take a tolerant view of most living things until they take up residence in the house with me, uninvited. The cricket strain I dislike the most are the ones that become ensconced in a corner or under a couch and start chirping for a mate while I'm trying to sleep. All those stories about them being good luck aside I can't sleep until I've silenced the offender and sometimes the search is maddeningly long. I've been told that if they can't find a moisture source they eventually dry out and die inside the house. I can't wait that long. Like you, the non-toxic long-term solution that I've come to employ is setting out those sticky traps frequently sold for mice control. Crickets jump onto them and that's their last leap. I have taken to using our old stand-by-- duct tape-- in strips about eight inches long placed glue side up in room corners and behind furniture and it seems to work as well as the sticky traps and a whole lot cheaper. The old mice counting formula-- if you can see one then you have twenty-- holds even more true with crickets. I've been told that a healthy cat will significantly reduce the cricket population in the house. If you use the sticky traps or duct tape strips, hide them behind things where the kids, cat or dog can't get to them. *end