There are more than 25 different species of field crickets. These insects range from ½ to1-1/8 inch long and have the typical stout body with large “jumping” hind legs characteristic of crickets. Field crickets are usually black but can also be brown or straw-colored. They have slender antennae, which are much longer than the body. The wings on adult crickets lay flat on the back and are bent down on the sides. Adult female crickets have a long slender, tube-like structure (ovipositor) projecting from their abdomen, which they use to lay eggs. Both males and females have tow antenna-like structures (called cerci) that are attached to the sides of the tip of the abdomen. Nymphs look like the adults but are smaller and the wings are not fully developed.
Most field crickets over winter as eggs that have been laid in moist, firm soil or occasionally as nymphs. Each female lays 150-400 eggs, which hatch in the spring. The nymphs molt eight or nine times, usually becoming adults in about 78-90 days. There maybe several generations per year.
Field crickets can be important agricultural pests. They can also become household problems in late summer when they move out of fields and into buildings. Field crickets can damage furniture, rugs, and clothing, and the chirping of the adult males is irritating to some individuals. These insects are unable to survive indoors for long periods and usually die off by winter.
Field crickets are active at night, hiding in dark warm places during the day. They are attracted to lights, often by the thousands.