What are Mole Crickets?
Your lawn is your pride and joy. You mow it, water it, weed it…but something out there is messing with it. It could be the nefarious mole cricket, a serious lawn pest that will terrorize your lawn and ruin all of your hard work. Today’s article will give you the information you need to deal with them: what mole crickets look like, what they do, and how to get rid of them. Onward to battle!
What do mole crickets look like?
Mole crickets are one of those insects that once you see one, you will never forget what they look like. Picture a cross between a cricket and a lobster. That’s these guys. They also have big clawed front legs that look like a mole’s front paws and big, beady eyes. Adults are about 1-2 inches long, and they tend to be in the brown color family (brown, tan, or reddish brown). They are also attracted to exterior lights, so keep that in mind.
There are several invasive and non-invasive species of mole crickets flying around, and we do mean flying. Some of these guys can fly up to 5 miles at a time. The two most damaging of these are both non-native species, the tawny mole cricket and the southern mole cricket.
What do mole crickets do to your lawn?
Different species of mole crickets will do different types of damage to your lawn. Some of them will tunnel through your turf and uproot your grass, while others will munch on roots and shoots. If it is little, it will be eaten.
In the early spring is when you can start to see their activity, with little spots of disturbed soil. If you start to notice uprooted seedlings and little mole-like runways, then you’ll know you have a problem. By the time you see the patches of dead grass in the summer, you will have been too late to stop these little troublemakers from completing their damage, so you’ll want to act early.
How do you get rid of mole crickets?
If you have a suspicion that your lawn has a mole cricket problem, you can test this theory simply: do a soapy-water flush in the suspected area. This will bring any mole crickets up to the surface to escape. Watch very closely, and if you see more than 4 pop up then you will want to take action ASAP.
You will want to make sure you are timing the treatment right, to kill off the nymphs before they can start doing damage. If you hit the area where you can see activity in the early spring, then you will be able to catch eggs before they hatch. You will still need to do follow-up treatments, though, to make sure you get anything that you missed.
In order to get to these little critters, you will need a treatment that can penetrate the ground and get to them down there. Using a combination of liquid concentrate and granules can yield the best results for you. A granular treatment will roll down and hang out for months to extend the treatment while using the liquid will be fast-acting.
Let’s recap what we’ve learned: mole crickets are highly destructive lawn pests that will tear up your grass and fresh shoots. They start to get active in the early spring, and that’s when you want to hit them with pest control. If you wait until you see dead patches of grass, you’ve waited too long, and the damage is already done. We hope this has been helpful and we wish you luck in this fight to protect your turf!