Mole Crickets the yard destroyer
Mole Crickets, an ugly grasshopper looking pest that no one cares to have in their yards. This pest can destroy a healthy lawn in a short period of time if infested heavily. They are a very common and major pest in the southern states.
Yards that consist of Centipede, Bermuda, and St. Augustine grass are more susceptible to serious damage from this pest. Mole Crickets are a costly pest because of the expense of treatments and replacement of devoured yards.
Identifying Mole Crickets and their damage
Adult Mole Crickets are chunky looking and have wings and are light brown in color. They get up to 1 ½ inches long. Their rear legs simulate those of a cricket. They mate twice a year in the spring and in the fall.
At mating time you will notice small holes in your yard with a small amount of dirt around the holes. They are usually not seen as they stay underground eating the roots of your grass. But they have been known to get inside homes or be seen crawling across drive ways.
The nymphs look the same as the adults but are wingless and can cause serious damage to your lawn as they multiply. Visual damage will look as brown or dead looking damage and the ground will be soft to these areas.
At this point you would know that the mole crickets have either eaten on the grass to an extent or their tunneling has killed it. The Southern Mole Crickets differ from the Tawny Mole Crickets as they are mainly carnivores and feed slightly from roots, grass and leaves.
The nymph mole crickets will feed and grow through the summer and become adults near winter time. Then the mole crickets will stay deep in the ground throughout the winter and feed on warm occasions till the next spring.
Mole crickets have one generation so the next spring the whole process of mating starts again.
How to treat Mole Crickets
Most people will start treating for mole crickets in the spring around March. Studies have shown that summer treatments work better as all the eggs have hatched and the nymphs are still small at this point. Granules and liquid chemical treatment is best at this point.
For later in the summer treatments a pesticide application that has a longer residual or mole cricket baits are best to use. Keep in mind that studies have shown mole crickets have grown to be resistant to some chemicals. Some of these chemicals, I do know have been off the market for quite a while.
If you treat your yard and you get little or no results after treating it several times you may need to try a different chemical. Note that changing chemicals doesn’t always means it is going to work. You may also need to change to a completely different chemical family to get results for mole cricket control in your yard.
When treating your lawn for Mole Crickets notice the time of treatment. If it is a hot summer day liquid chemicals are susceptible to evaporation. This can kill non targeted pests and have a secondary effect among other pests. Also be advised of the wind, as it can cause drift to non target areas.
Take note of the reentry times on your turf and keep pets and children off according to the label. When using granular pesticide application in dry weather you may not see the results you seek. Granular applications need a heavy dew or a light watering to activate the chemical as to wash it into the soil.
So read the labels of any pesticide you apply for “Mole Crickets” to achieve best results for your lawn.