Many people associate mice with the destruction of human grains and maybe an infestation in animal feed or straw, but they don’t think of them eating crickets. Because you rarely see a mouse catch live prey, it’s easy to imagine them as entirely herbivorous.
So, do mice eat crickets? Mice eat crickets, mealworms, and all kinds of other small insects. Mice are omnivores, so they consume both plant and animal matter. Mice are also opportunistic feeders, which means they will take a meal wherever they can find it. That includes eating their fair share of crickets.
If mice eat crickets, does that mean having crickets in your house will bring the mice in next? Keep reading to learn more about what mice eat and how you can keep both mice and crickets out of your house and outbuildings.
Do Mice Eat Crickets?
Yes, mice eat crickets – and they eat other insects, too! There is a wide variety of small insects that mice are happy to make their meals on, and while some mice—such as deer mice—may have a higher preference for an insectivorous diet than other species, all species of mice will eat insects when they can catch them. (Source: University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources)
Here are some of the insect types that mice will commonly eat:
Deer mice that live in a field or forest are more likely to pursue insects than a house mouse who has more access to unprotected flour, dried fruit, or grains. If a person cultivates a household environment that encourages insect pests, this will only give any encroaching mice a more robust food source to live off of.
The kinds of home environments that attract insects such as crickets and roaches can often drive subsistence-level numbers of house mice into colony situations that might spiral out of control. This is often seen in hoarding situations. When roaches and crickets are allowed to reproduce freely, hordes of house mice soon follow. (Source: Pest Control Technology Magazine)
The major problem with mice is that they don’t only eat insects. Mice also eat a vast range of other things and, if desperate, will even eat each other. (Source: Live Science) This makes a mouse problem challenging to eradicate without extreme measures such as poison or traps once it has established itself in a building.
What Do Mice Eat?
Along with insects, mice also eat grains, fruit, and plant matter. They will catch and eat smaller animals if they can, though there aren’t many smaller animals than a mouse that isn’t invertebrates. Because mice can eat many things and require little water, this allows them to live in some of the most inhospitable environments in the world.
Along with stealing food from humans, mice are also known to “eat” inedible things such as cloth, leather, and other materials. These materials are rarely eaten—instead, they are shredded up and used as nesting materials. (Source: Colonial Pest Control)
Once mice have broken into human food storage and eaten or disrupted it, the food is contaminated and must be thrown out. Mice can carry several diseases transmittable to humans, especially deadly hantavirus. (Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety)
Do Crickets Attract Mice?
Mice are attracted to crickets and small insects. (Source: Terminix) However, white-footed and house mice are especially attracted to spider crickets (also known as cave crickets and camel crickets).
Crickets not only draw in unwanted vermin such as mice and raccoons that like to eat them, but they also do a fair amount of damage to stored food, clothing, and anything else they can get their mandibles on. (Source: The Infinite Spider)
Another gross factor to consider is that cave crickets are considered an intermediate host for several parasites, including horsehair worms. They aren’t dangerous to human health unless you’re in the habit of eating live crickets—and even then, you won’t get anything more than a case of gastrointestinal upset–but they’re undoubtedly disgusting to consider as houseguests. (Source: University of Kentucky)
The crickets themselves draw in mice and raccoons as a source of easy prey, but it’s also worth knowing that the environmental conditions that can be attractive to cave crickets are also attractive to mice and rats as well and can cause other structural issues in the home.
Here are some of the things in a building that can draw in crickets (and mice):
- Water sources: Standing water, condensation, and leaks are all sources of water
for pest animals and can make breeding easier.
- Darkness: While house crickets are attracted to the light in human
habitations, they also require plenty of dark crevices to nest and hide from
predators like birds and house cats.
- Open trash: Both crickets and mice are opportunistic omnivores, which means
they’ll go after just about anything you throw away as a potential food
- Bright light: House crickets and house mice have developed for thousands of years to live alongside human beings, which means they are attracted to lights at night. Where there’s artificial light, there are humans, and where there are humans, there’s food.
- Weeds: Unchecked vegetation around a home can draw wildlife close with plenty of hiding places and food sources, increasing the chances that outdoor mice and crickets will attempt to make their way into the house. (Source: Bob Vila)
- Quiet places: Areas of the home or outbuildings that are not often disturbed by human visitors such as garage corners, closets, pantries, and sheds are perfect places for both crickets and mice to hide. It’s even more ideal if these areas also contain sources of food or nesting material.
Assessing your property for access points to mice and crickets and addressing them can help prevent both from making it inside the house.
How to Keep Mice and Crickets Out of the House
If you have an infestation of crickets, you don’t want an infestation of mice to follow. Luckily, eradicating crickets removes an abundant food source for mice, and changing your home environment to make it unsuitable for crickets makes it unsuitable for mice, too.
Here are some of the steps you can take to drive crickets, mice, and other vermin from your house:
- Make sure the house is
sealed. Pests often find their way into the home
through cracks in dry rotted caulking and other threshold areas. Make sure that
the home is tight and that there are few—if any—places that insects or mice
could get in. It’s also essential to make sure that all potential sources of
food, such as pantries, have food tightly packed away in rodent-proof
- Keep up your yard and flower
beds. Weedy yards that are a foot high are the
perfect habitat for crickets, mice, and the snakes that like to prey on both.
Unless you want to attract these animals to your yard, be sure to keep your
lawn mowed, weeds pulled, and flower beds mulched. Cutting back on weeds
removes sources of food and hiding places. Wildlife does not like exposure.
- Install a bird feeder. One way to keep outdoor crickets from invading your home is to encourage natural predators. Set up toad and frog shelters and draw birds to your yard. This will also reduce prey for mice. Bird feeders also bring in the birds that prey on other birds, such as hawks, which are also a deterrent for mice. (Source: The National Wildlife Federation)
Deterring mice and crickets is mostly a matter of maintenance. If you make your home inhospitable for pests, they’ll likely move on to greener pastures before eradication becomes necessary.
Crickets Attract Mice as a Food Source
If you’ve discovered an infestation of crickets in the home, it’s an excellent idea to get a handle on it as quickly as possible since they provide mice with a steady source of food even when human food sources are sealed away.
Insects in the house are a sign that your home boundaries aren’t as tight as they should be, and other types of vermin such as mice potentially have an access point, too.