As a garden owner, pests can be quite a problem to deal with. This is because they can cause significant damage to your plants and crops. One of these insects is known as the Jerusalem cricket or the potato bug. These bugs usually hide under rocks, logs, or in flower beds.
Are you dealing with a Jerusalem cricket infestation? We have researched the best methods of dealing with these bugs. Below, you’ll find tips on what to do when you have Jerusalem crickets in your garden.
- Jerusalem Crickets: Get to Know Them
- How Serious of a Problem Are They?
- How to Get Rid of Potato Bugs
- In Conclusion
Potato bugs are native to California. They tend to live outdoors, under rocks or in flower beds, and thrive in cooler areas. An adult Jerusalem cricket can be as big as 2.5 inches, and with such a big insect, you may ask the question, “Are potato bugs harmful?”
Although they don’t usually attack humans or animals, they have strong jaws and will bite painfully if they feel threatened.
Although they are called potato bugs, potatoes are not their primary food source. Instead, they feast on other insects, roots, and tubers. Decaying plants are also on their menu, but the problem comes when their other food sources run dry and they begin to target healthy plants.
As mentioned before, these pests are not fond of hot temperatures and come out during cool weather, meaning that they mainly pop up at night or when there is rain.
Although they can look scary, Jerusalem crickets aren’t poisonous and won’t bite you unless you corner them. Most of the time, they stick to the outdoors, but they may come into the house through windows or doors when they seek a darker, cooler environment.
If they invade your house, getting rid of them can be a hassle. Furthermore, you never know what can get them feeling agitated and ready to attack. You might be watering your plants, and if you get close to them, they might feel threatened and bite.
Additionally, they can help your garden by killing other insects. So you can see that Jerusalem crickets can be beneficial in your garden. But when their normal food is gone, these pests can target your live plants.
Potato bugs can damage growing plants by sucking on the roots, stems, fruit, and leaves, which can damage the plant significantly. Hence, the problems far outweigh the benefits, and getting the situation under control is a must!
Now that we have given you a briefing on what these insects are and how much damage they can cause to your garden, it’s time to look at some ways to get rid of them. There are several possible answers to the problem of Jerusalem crickets in your garden, let’s get right into it!
Jerusalem crickets are fond of the dark and cool areas, and a garden with a lot of debris is pretty much an invitation for them to come in. Not only does unnecessary debris make your garden look like a complete mess, but it also gives the crickets a hiding place.
To avoid having potato bugs in your garden, you should clean out all the dead leaves, trash, rocks, and overgrown grass as well. When it comes to overgrown grass especially, you should bring in a lawn mower and mow down the excess grass during the summer, fall, and the other season as well so that the crickets have no hiding space.
Neem oil is an organic insecticide that serves as the best defense against harmful pests. It is completely natural, meaning that you don’t have to worry about having manufactured chemicals in your garden. Furthermore, it’s known to have a high success rate as well!
Fill a spray bottle with neem oil and spray all the areas where the crickets may be hiding. Neem oil will also help with dealing with infected leaves and plants too. After spraying every three days for a while, you should notice that these nocturnal bugs have left your lawn.
You should take action immediately after noticing these bugs inside your garden so that the damage can be kept to a minimum. With the right equipment, you can trap them and get rid of them accordingly. This is one of the best ways to get rid of the Jerusalem crickets in your garden.
Paper traps are a popular choice for this. These traps will be set down in areas where you frequently notice the potato bugs coming out at night. The moment they step on the paper, they will get stuck on the adhesive and trapped.
Additionally, you can use petroleum jelly or vaseline on a plank of wood and place it in an area where the crickets are likely to be. This will let you control the infestation simply and conveniently.
If you want to exterminate the potato bugs without using harsh chemicals that might harm your plants, then molasses can be of great help. This is an organic solution that can be used to trap all kinds of crickets without causing damage to your precious garden.
Molasses gives off a sweet aroma that appeals to crickets, so spraying it in the garden will get them jumping out in a few minutes. To utilize this efficiently, combine the use of molasses with sticky paper traps or planks so that they can’t run away after you lure them out of their hiding spots.
If you see that the crickets aren’t attracted to the bait at first, you should try using more of it as potato bugs simply can’t resist this sweet scent!
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of purchasing neem oil or molasses to get the job done, then why not use the most basic items that we all have in our households already?
Salt and water can create a simple yet effective deterrent that can show impressive results. Mix in about three tablespoons of salt with a quarter of a cup of water and spray it on the insects directly. You can also spray it on the flowerbeds and plants since it’s another natural solution to having Jerusalem crickets in your garden.
If Jerusalem crickets are harming your plants, why not use some plants to fight against them? Sweet potatoes produce nitrogen in the soil. Crickets are known to hate nitrogen, so they are likely to leave your garden alone. You can also crush some garlic and spread it around the garden bed or put in some garlic plants.
If you want to handle the problem without any external help, there are remedies you can create with simple household ingredients. A mix of vinegar and baking soda can exterminate the crickets. Boric acid is another substance that can provide you with great results. All you need to do is to toss the mix around the infested areas and it will kill all the insects.
Another solution for the problem of Jerusalem crickets in your garden is using a mixture of dish soap and water. Spray this mixture onto the insects and let it do its magic! The more dishwashing liquid you use, the stronger the solution becomes, so try it out and find the perfect amount!
The key takeaway here is to find the best solution that does not involve harming your precious garden as the whole purpose of getting rid of these pests is to keep it safe. Hence, you should make your best efforts whether it’s by using DIY fixes or commercial ones.
Lastly, remember that if all else fails, you can always call in a pest control company. Professional help may be expensive but often the quickest and most effective solution to Jerusalem crickets or pests in general.
We hope that this article has helped you learn how to avoid having Jerusalem crickets in your garden, and we hope that your garden prospers.
Going to the doctor is unnecessary as potato bugs don’t have venom, and the pain is short-lived.
Jerusalem crickets are not a threat to humans and their pets. Even if they do bite, there are no severe effects, so your pet should be fine.
You will be able to hear hissing and scratching noises in the garden, and you can also find them under any debris in your garden.