Home Science Q&A: To Crickets, Your Basement Is a Cafeteria

Q&A: To Crickets, Your Basement Is a Cafeteria

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CreditVictoria Roberts

A. Most cricket species, indoors or outdoors, are omnivorous. They will eat almost any organic material, usually preferring items derived from plants.

Depending on what kind your basement is harboring, the crickets may consume dried leaves blown in from outdoors; potted plants brought inside to overwinter; natural-fiber clothing and stored rugs, or synthetic fabrics, especially if they are soiled; rubber and leather goods; cardboard boxes; and other insects, dead or alive.

An increasingly widespread household pest is not a true cricket but looks like one. There are about 150 species of non-chirping, humpbacked camel crickets. A recent study based on photographs submitted by the public found that camel crickets have now spread though most of the eastern United States.

They are especially well suited to basement life, even in the absence of organic materials. One of their favorite foods is a fungus that grows on damp basement walls.