Insects have been a nuisance to man since the beginning of time, up until the present. One
of the plagues that struck Egypt was swarms of crickets, and locusts, which destroyed crops, and
ate entire fields. Swarms of Crickets can cover up to 210 km. There have been cases of up to
100,000,000,000 insects in a swarm (one hundred billion).
In these huge masses, they can
completely destroy the land and everything on a farm. I chose to do this experiment because when
I am at camp I am constantly woken up by the loud chirping of these annoying insects.
There are three types of crickets: Mole Crickets, Field Crickets, and House Crickets. The
Mole Cricket’s body is designed for digging subterranean tunnels. This Cricket’s body is well
adapted to digging. The Mole Cricket usually lives in hot dry areas, and are extremely harmful to
plants such as barley, and flax
The Field Cricket has had a history in ancient China. This cricket’s beautiful song was
held in particularly high esteem. These crickets were often kept in exquisitely ornamented cages
made of sandalwood, ivory or jade.
The Most common cricket is the house cricket. The house cricket’s body is more slender
than that of the field cricket. It is also generally lighter in color. This crickets appears in
abundance in central Europe, such as cellars, houses, bakeries, and so on.
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Problem: How do I make a cricket deterrent that is environmentally friendly?
Hypothesis: If I use a deterrent that has a strong odor, then it will deter the crickets
from that area.
I started my experiment by first buying 60 crickets. The crickets were stored in bags until
they were ready to be used. I purchased a clear plastic box with holes in the top for breathing. I
made a divider out of cardboard and secured it in the center of the box, making four equal sections.
One section was the control, and in the others I put a deterrent.
Two tests were made that were thrown out because they were irrelevant. In the first case,
the crickets were not deterred at all by any of the substances. The test was done outside, and the
crickets seemed to simply move their position depending on the location of the sun. The crickets
seemed only deterred by the sun. They all moved to wherever the shadow of the sun seemed the
darkest. I concluded that crickets are deterred, to some extent, by sunlight. The other test seemed
erroneous because all of the crickets died very quickly. In this test, the crickets all died within 15
minutes, in whichever substance they went in first. There was too much of liquid in each section.
These observations helped me in making an accurate experiment. The rest of my experiments
were done inside my house, where there is not direct sunlight. In my first test I used onion powder,
garlic powder, lime juice and water as the control. I thought that the onion powder would work
well because it has a strong odor, that would deter the crickets, and the powder would work better
than a whole onion. I figured that the garlic powder would work for basically the same reasons as
the onion, but probably a little bit better, because it has a stronger smell. I thought that the lime
juice would work well because it is quite acidic, and would also kill any crickets that went to it.
The one cricket that was not deterred by the lime juice in this test was
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dead. I used water as the control in my experiment because it has no odor to deter the crickets, and
is not acidic, so it would not kill the crickets.
In my second test I used powdered tide, fertilizer, dishwasher soap, and water for the
control. I thought the Tide would work well because of its color, although it does not have a strong
odor, and it is not acidic. I thought the house plant food would work well, because it had a strong
smell, and it contained boric acid, making it acidic. The house plant food worked the best in this
test, because it has two characteristics that would deter the crickets.
In the third test I used baking soda, vinegar, Comet powder, and water as the control. I
thought that the baking soda would work because of its color. The baking soda was the worst
deterrent used. The Comet worked very well, but not quite as well as the vinegar, because it did
not have the strong smell that the vinegar did.
In the final test I took the best deterrents from all of the tests, the lime juice, the house
plant food, and the vinegar, and again the water for the control. For this test the crickets were left
in the container for a longer time. Although some of the crickets moved from time to time, they
stayed away from the vinegar all of the time, and mostly stayed in the section that had the lime
juice. The lime juice did not work as well as the other substances, because it does not have as
strong a smell.
The most effective deterrent was the vinegar, and if a large swarm of crickets were
attacking his crops, it would probably be the best defense, but in more average circumstances, the
house plant food would work better. The house plant food would work as a fairly effective
deterrent, but not smell up the crops, and would certainly not harm them as vinegar might, it might
even help the crops. I also found that the crickets were deterred by sunlight, so the most likely time
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that a swarm would appear would be during the night.
I accepted my hypothesis. The vinegar was the best deterrent and had the strongest smell.
The house plant food also had an odor and worked quite well. The only exceptions to this were
that the garlic and onion powder did not work well as deterrents, probably because they did not
have a very strong or ofensive smell.