Anyone for Crickets?

Crickets, and their melodious song, the perfect finishing touch for the exotic garden. By cricket captain Tony Keating.
Tony Keating, 105 Fairway, Chertsey, Surrey
Chamaerops No. 8, published online 23-10-2002

Readers comments on this article:
Click here to read them or to add your own.

There you are lying on a sun-lounger under the palms. You need this holiday. Two weeks of relaxing. Doing nothing. The sun burns down. You reach out for a drink. Something moves. A little black-brown grasshopper thing scurries up a wall, stops and rattles its wings. A beautiful trill emanates from it. You suddenly realise this enchanting melody is the song of this small creature. The day grows shorter. Warm wind rustles through the palms. Evening falls into dusk. The night air vibrates to the song of this creature. You sit back, glass in hand, wishing you could stay here forever. Well you can. The above is myself in summer. Southeast England, just off Junction 11, M25 motorway. Palms, sun, crickets. We all know the hardy palms, but do you know the hardy crickets?

There are four crickets native to England. These are the true crickets of the order Gryllidae.

The first is Gryllus campestris. Large, black, very musical but very rare. This is a protected species and must not be disturbed or taken from the wild.

The second is Gryllotalpidae. Very large, musical. Also rare and protected.

The third, Nemobius sylvestris is softly musical. This cricket is not in danger and fairly plentiful.

The fourth, Acheta domesticus (The House Cricket) is very common but even so, not very well known. Although it is a native of North Africa and Asia it has been well established since the days of the Romans in our countryside. The song is a bird-like warble continued for long periods. Mainly nocturnal, it will often be found on rubbish dumps and in gardens in summer. It is sometimes sold in tubs in pet shops. To establish this creature in your garden you will need a warm compost heap on which the tub should be emptied in April or May. Many will live and breed in the compost and move about your garden and adjoining areas.

Seeking out the warmest places they do become part of the food chain so they will have to be topped up once or twice a month until they establish themselves. Don't be surprised if you come across the odd one in the house. (They are not called house Crickets for nothing!) However, they are easily caught and do not bite. If you don't have a compost heap just tip them into the garden in June. Top them up regularly and they will sing right through to November.

P.S. Gryllus campestris, the large black cricket, the one we often hear on those sun-soaked holidays, is also a native of southern England, but very rare. This year the Nature Conservancy Council in cooperation with London Zoo Insect Department have bred over 1500 of these crickets. These have been bred from our own wild stocks for release back into the wild. If everything goes to plan it should not be too long before the south of England vibrates to the beautiful song of these creatures, as does the south of France.

Crickets, with their warbling evening trill provide the perfect finishing touch to the exotic garden, and will entertain and enthral friends and neighbours alike.

Readers Comments:

(No comments yet. Be the first to add a comment to this article!)

 Your comments:    Anyone for Crickets?
    Add your personal thoughts, comments, ideas, suggestions, experiences etc. to the above article. Just fill in the fields below:
  Check this box if you do not want your name and e-mail address to be published.

(please allow a few seconds for response)



  28-01-23 - 23:55GMT
 What's New?
 New palm book
 Date: 24-05-2004

An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft.
 New: Issue 48
 Date: 24-05-2004
Chamaerops 48
has been published in the Members Area.
 Archive complete!
 Date: 03-12-2002
All Chamaerops issues can now be found in the archive: More than 350 articles are on-line!
 Issues 13 to 16
 Date: 28-08-2002
Chamaerops mags 13, 14, 15 and 16 have been added to the members area. More than 250 articles are now online!
 42 as free pdf-file
 Date: 05-08-2002
Free Download! Chamaerops No. 42 can be downloaded for free to intruduce the new layout and size to our visitors
 Issues 17 to 20
 Date: 23-07-2002
Chamaerops mags 17, 18, 19 and 20 have been added to the members area. Now 218 articles online!
 Book List
 Date: 28-05-2001
Take a look at our brand new Book List edited by Carolyn Strudwick
 New Book
 Date: 25-01-2001
'Palmen in Mitteleuropa'
by Mario Stähler
This german book tells you all about how to cultivate your palms in Central Europe. more...