Crickets, Earwigs and Springtails

Crickets have chewing mouthparts and are primarily plant feeders.

Development is gradual; the nymph stages resemble adults except for wings, when present. Egg and nymph stages survive dry seasons or overwinter. The house cricket is the only species in this group that lives and reproduces indoors.

Other crickets may be attracted to lights at night, and forage or harbor in homes, but they cannot survive long in the low relative humidity of houses. Thus, while house crickets may damage materials, other species are only a nuisance. Large numbers of field crickets can be a nuisance in late summer when they move to the perimeter of buildings during cool nights, then move inside the houses and building around doors and windows. These crickets also are capable of flying.


Earwigs are slightly flattened insects with a pair of movable forceps at the end of the abdomen. The forceps are large in males and small in females. Earwigs have gradual metamorphosis and chewing mouthparts. They are nocturnal, and they feed on plant and animal material. There are four to six nymph stages, and adults appear in late summer;

they overwinter as adults. Earwigs are attracted to lights at night and enter buildings around doors and windows. They often gather in narrow harborages. The name “earwig” is based on the superstition that they crawl into people’s eat at night. The straw used in early bedding provided harborage for earwigs, and occasionally one of these insects would be found in the ear of a sleeper.


Springtails are wingless, soft-bodied insects. They have chewing mouthparts, and the metamorphosis is simple; the immature stages resemble the adults. The common name is derived from a tail structure that they use to propel themselves through the air. Their jumping ability helps them escape from predators. Springtails inhabit moist locations, and most feed on decaying plant material, fungi, pollen, and algae. Those that occur indoors usually are associated with moist or wet conditions, but some species can persist in dry environments. Favorable indoor conditions include high humidity, mold, or other wet or moist organic matter.

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