Good Luck When Jiminy Cricket Arrives

By Ray Novitske, Fairfax Master Gardener

field cricket

field cricket

Crickets are thought of as a symbol of good luck in several cultures. The Chinese saw them as bringing happiness and good fortune, and often kept them in cages to appreciate their songs. Native Americans considered them good luck, representing wisdom, joy and power of belief. Their jumping offered the power to leap over difficult obstacles. American Colonial builders added a copper cricket to the weathervane atop Boston’s Fanueil Hall as a symbol of prosperity and protection. We consider them a nuisance pest. They are not so much good luck when they get into our homes.

camel cricket

camel cricket

Crickets are part of the Orthoptera family along with grasshoppers and katydids. There are three types found in our area — the house cricket, camel cricket and most common, the field cricket. House crickets can live and reproduce indoors. They are light brown with darker bands on their heads, and when outdoors, can cause damage to garden plants and flowers. Camel crickets get their name from their downward-facing heads, making their backs higher similar to a camel’s hump. They are brown-colored with long antennae and long hind legs. They do not chirp.