Up to 1-½ inches.
Brown, tan, reddish brown.
Mole crickets spend the winter in deep burrows in the soil. When the soil warms in the spring and night temperatures approach 60 degrees F, mole crickets move up to feed on grass.
Mole crickets have robust front legs highly modified for digging. They tunnel rapidly just below the soil surface and make trails of pushed-up soil similar to that of a mole only much smaller. Mole crickets can run very rapidly when on the soil surface.
Mole crickets spend the winter in deep burrows in the soil. When the soil warms in the spring and night temperatures approach 60 degrees F, mole crickets move up to feed on grass. Feeding occurs primarily at night in the upper 1 inch of the soil. Mole crickets also forage on the soil surface when night temperatures are warm and the soil is moist. Activity increases in the spring, and adults fly and mate.
Feeds primarily on other insects, earthworms
Almost all vegetable crops may be damaged by these pests
Feed at or slightly below the soil surface on roots, tubers and stems
Also attack strawberries and other fruit which contacts the soil
Mole crickets can damage plants by feeding at night on aboveground foliage or stem tissue and belowground on roots and tubers. Seedlings may be girdled at the stems near the soil surface, though some plants may be completely severed and pulled into a tunnel to be eaten. Mole cricket tunneling near the soil surface dislodges plants or causes them to dry out. Small mounds of soil are also pushed up. Tunneling reduces the aesthetic quality of turf grass, interferes with the roll of the ball on golf courses, and results in reduced livestock grazing on severely infested pastures.
Hybrid Bermuda grasses, common Bermuda grass, Bahia grass, zoysia grasses, and centipede grass are most severely damaged.
Mole Cricket Prevention Tips
- In the weeks that follow treatment, monitor control in the most problematic areas with the soapy water flush. Remember that it may take many treatments a week or two to become fully effective. The larger the mole cricket, the longer time required to observe good control.
- Where mole crickets are being attracted in large numbers to exterior lights on a home or building, the lights should remain off when not needed or switch the bulbs to a type less attractive to insects (e.g., yellow bug lights or sodium vapor lamps).
When soil moisture is low, the crickets have a tendency to remain deeper in the soil. Dry soil conditions make mole cricket control more difficult as the cricket’s depth decreases the likelihood the insecticide will make contact.Additionally, the dry soil and organic matter may lead to an increase in binding of the insecticide, which results in less availability of the product.
- Pre-irrigation of the affected area, as well as post-treatment irrigation, may be beneficial in enhancing mole cricket control. The pre-irrigation helps thoroughly wet the soil and organic matter, which may improve insecticide movement. It may also help move the mole cricket closer to the surface. But don’t put too much water out after treatment (more than ½ inch). This may lead to runoff, and our research shows this may actually reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.
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