When the spring season comes, the mole cricket activity would also start to raise. It happens mostly in southern states.
It is a sub-surface pest that would damage the turf in your outdoor area. The most essential thing to do as prevention is to monitor its activity.
Furthermore, you will get more information about mole crickets and how to get rid of them in this article. Before that, it is better to recognize these pests a little more.
What is a Mole Cricket?
Mole Cricket is a sub-surface pest that is highly destructive. It can cause great damage to the turf. This insect includes native and non-native species.
Both of them cause trouble in the US. The damage would begin in the early spring season. It comes from the overwintering mole crickets that emerge from the ground to breed.
From spring to summer season, the hatched nymphs would go through some stages. They will become larger and more damaging to the lawn.
You probably will not notice the destruction until in the late summer. There will be some dead and dying grass. That is what mole crickets can do.
Mole Cricket Characteristics
Mole crickets spend their lives mostly under the soil. These species depend on the soil type they live in.
The lights one would be easier for the pests to dig into it. They have strong front legs that are designed for digging. They are able to do it very fast because of those legs.
This action is called tunneling. The mole crickets will make 3 kinds of cavities in the soil.
The first one is the Tunnels which are the deeper mines underground. Next, the second cavity is called Galleries. They are the horizontal mines below the surface of the soil.
The last cavity is called the Egg Chamber which is made by the females. Let us discuss more about Galleries which is also known as mounds.
These are made during the night when the mole crickets search for food. This cavity is made of sandy soils.
When it is raining, the Galleries would collapse. So, if you see this cavity after a heavy rain, there is a high possibility that it is made by fresh mole crickets.
In a golf course greens, the mole cricket mounds would be a big issue because it can deflect the role of the ball.
The Type of Mole Crickets in The US
Actually, there are a lot of species when it comes to mole crickets. However, in the US, there are only three types of pests that can do damage significantly.
If you think, the European and the Northern mole crickets are two of them, that is wrong. Because those two are not considered pests. They are prevalent.
- Short-Winged Mole Cricket. It is a predacious or omnivore that eats larvae, worms, grass, and roots. This one is found mostly in southern Georgia and Florida.
- Tawny Mole Cricket. It is an herbivore that only eats roots and grasses. You can find this cricket throughout Florida and North Carolina.
- Southern Mole Cricket. What do mole cricket eat? It’s similar to the short-winged one. Besides Caroline and Florida, this also comes from Arizona.
There will be more species of mole crickets out there. However, you may only find three types on your lawn because those are the common ones.
They can cause damage that would destroy the turf during the spring season.
Identifying Mole Cricket
It is important to know the signs of mole crickets so you could begin the treatment immediately and effectively.
Before they turn into adult ones, you have to treat them as effectively as possible to control the spreading.
Here are a few things to consider:
The Mole Cricket Damage
These sub-surface pests can cause a lot of damage to your lawn. They will do it by tunneling right under the surface of the turf, feeding the grassroots, and other things in the soil.
Tunneling generally occurs just right under the surface, so it will be really close. It would cause small bulges that are visible right on the surface.
Then, the lawn would be feeling a little bit spongy than it used it. That is because of the mole crickets that make the lawn become detached from the roots.
If some area of the turn has the tunneling activity, the grass at the exact spot would turn brown and eventually. Besides that, their feeding time would also make the grass to die.
The Best Time To Check
It is crucial to know about the life cycle of mole crickets. So, you will understand when is the proper time to deal with them.
Well, this pest lays eggs under the soil surface around the late spring seasons and in the early summer.
During that time, the nymphs, immature mole crickets, will grow and feed in the soil. At this stage, you might notice the adult ones flying and mating. That is why it is a crucial time to check out.
From the feeding nymphs, you probably will not see any damage. It would become visible when they become larger.
The time would be in the spring after the winter. It is when the overwintered nymphs would start to feed again during the warming up temperatures.
That is the time where you can see the obvious damage made by mole crickets. However, it is not the best time to control them because they are adults and more resistant to treatment.
The Best Time To Treat
During the summer season, the damage by mole crickets would be minimal. It is said before that they are not visible during this time. Otherwise, it is the right time to apply the treatment.
One of the things you can do to inspect the lawn for young mole crickets is by applying a solution made of detergent and water mix.
You can make it by combining 2 tablespoons of detergent and a gallon of water. Apply the solution to the soil.
Focus on the areas that already get the damage in the last spring season. Begin to pour it in a few square feet of the turf first.
This action will keep it concentrated. If the soil area has mole crickets, they will eventually emerge. Apply the procedure in the morning and evening.
How to Get Rid of Mole Crickets
Besides using the homemade solution (water + detergent) to deal with the pests, there are also a few other ways of mole cricket treatment to consider how to get rid of them.
Thus, to control the pests effectively, it requires lawn monitoring.
You have to keep checking your lawn for emerging adult mole crickets. Besides, you also have to treat your turf proactively before the damage becomes visible.
As said before in the previous segment of this article, it is better to treat it while it is still inside the soil.
However, there is some products mole cricket killer you can use for treatments that could kill both the adults and nymphs.
So, it will not be a problem. Here are some recommended products to consider to deal with the pests.
Sevin Insect Killer Granules
This recommended product is one of the best in the market. It keels and controls the pests both from below the soil and above it.
If you want the best result, you have to apply it to the moist soil with a spreader that is used for regular lawn. It should be done at the end of the day.
It is better to irrigate the lawn before that to get them emerged near the surface. Right after you apply the granules, you have to pour water on the treated area.
It would help to release the active materials and reach the mole crickets inside.
Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer
This one is a ready-to-spray product that can kill mole crickets and other outdoor bugs. The best time to apply this insect killer is when the pests or damage first appear.
The reapplication should be done as often as necessary. Wait at least one week in between each treatment.
From this product, you can get 3-month protection. It is also odor-free and it treats up to 5,300 square feet.
In minutes, this Ortho insect killer can create a bug barrier. Before utilizing the product, you should read the label directions.
Southern Ag Mole Cricket Bait
The last recommended product in this article is this mole cricket bait. It is a great choice to deal with pests.
It is a granular formula that contains Carbaryl which is the active material that would control them effectively.
The formulation of this product is similar to the one that people use for sports filed and golf courses.
This application is using a push spreader to get it even. You can use any simple tools like a spoon or belly grinder.
You have to water the mole cricket bait and use it immediately. It should only be used outdoor. These southern agricultural insecticides are the most affordable ones compare to the previous products.
Mole cricket can cause such big trouble for the turf or lawn. It is very important to know their life cycle, food, species, and treatment for control.
So, you can kill them and keep them away from your outdoor space. Do not forget to do some prevention too.