As a child, nothing sounded as sweet as hearing the male crickets call for a girl friend along with playing with those fun and delightful bugs that would roll themselves up in a ball. I knew them as pill or rollie-pollie bugs. When I go older and started planting my own landscape, I learned that while these bugs were fun to listen and play with as a child they can really destroy irises before you know it. Once your iris shows signs of decline, it is too late but there is a simple, organic technique that you can use to reduce the chances of losing your beloved irises.
Before I get to this technique, let me describe to you what happens when a cricket gets a hold of an iris. You see, crickets create shallow tunnels under stones, wood, and plants. They hang out in these tunnels during the day and come out at night to chirp or call for a mate. But as you can image, they do get a bit hungry while in the tunnel so they consume seeds, paper, dead insects, and plants. When it comes to the iris, this means that nice juicy rhizome that is in the ground alongside their tunnel. While the do not eat the entire rhizome, they do eat holes in the rhizome. This then creates homes for the woodlice and can eventually cause the rhizome to suffer from soft rot. But before you reach for that insecticide to control the crickets, take a look at these organic approaches.
The first approach is to simply attract predators to your yard that love crickets. This includes birds and even frogs. While this is a wonderful technique to use to control many garden pests, another approach is to make a simple trap that will keep the crickets at bay. Yes, this technique can trap innocent insects that are harmless to your plant material but the alternative is more damaging. To create a cricket trap starts off with a sticky trap displayed among your irises. While you can buy sticky traps, another choice is to make one. This is easily done by taking a small piece of cardboard and punching a hole in it. Once that is done, run a string through the cardboard. To catch as many crickets as possible, do not simply use brown or white cardboard. Instead, pick bright colors for your trap(s). After your trap has been strung, paint on commercially prepared insect trap glue that can be found in garden centers. Once that is done, you will need to tie your trap to a stick that is placed around your irises. At this point, you are done but once the trap fills up or it rains, you will need to make a new one. Repeat this process throughout the gardening season to prevent or control crickets around your irises.