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Just as the name implies, mole crickets create tunnels under the turf and damage grass and other plants. Mole cricket control is not unlike control for other soil pests, but knowing how to identify the insect, the damage, and signs of the mole cricket’s presence is important in control.
Mole Cricket Identification
Mole crickets look surprisingly like their mammal counterparts, with enlarged front legs with finger-like projections designed for digging. They are a dusty brown color and have a shield shaped head, are cylindrically shaped and about 1 ½ inches long. Mole crickets are not very good jumpers but are fast land-movers.
Mole Cricket Life Cycle
These crickets mate in spring and early summer. The females lay eggs in tunnels in the soil, where the eggs will hatch in a few weeks. The nymphs go through eight stages throughout the summer before emerging as adults. Adults and even nymphs will overwinter in the soil.
Mole Cricket Habitat and Food Sources
Mole crickets dig tunnels just below the soil, feeding on roots of plants, tubers, and stems of plants. They live in ½ inch deep burrows and prefer sandy soils, and commonly invade golf courses, pastures, gardens, field crops, and turf grass lawns. At night, mole crickets can dig tunnels underground up to twenty feet.
Mole Cricket Damage
Since these crickets are eating roots and stems under the soil, they cause brown patches on dirt and their tunneling disrupts plants by loosening the soil around root systems, and can even uproot plants. They create small mounds and ridges that cause problems for golf courses. In fields and gardens, mole crickets feed on vegetables, tobacco, peanuts, and strawberries. Bermudagrass and Bahaiagrass are most often affected. Armadillos and raccoons can tear up turf to dig up these digging insects.
How To Get Rid Of Mole Crickets
Read our article "How to Get Rid of Mole Crickets" for more information.
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