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Mole Crickets


Summary: Mole crickets are the only insects that I know of that have hands. Well, they don't really have hands. They have front legs with appendages that look like hands. Still, you have to hand it to mole crickets. They are the only insect capable of shaking your hand.

Mole crickets were imported here on trading ships, so they have no natural predators in the USA environment. However, some parasites are very effective in limiting mole cricket populations. The sphecid wasp and larra wasp are parasitoids which lay eggs on mole crickets. The larval wasps eat the crickets, greatly reducing their numbers. The wasps are not aggressive as adults. They can be encouraged to enter your yard by planting shrubbery like false buttonwood and partridge pea wildflowers in your garden.

However, if you are looking for a fast method of controlling mole crickets I suggest using the Advion Insect Granules product. Follow the label instructions exactly. Do not over-apply the product for best results.

Moleecricket.jpg

Parasitic nematodes provide a biological pest control alternative.  A product called Nematac S is commercially available and can be sprayed on a lawn to get rid of mole crickets. Results will be slower then when using the granular pesticide. The Nematac should be applied when the mole crickets are in the adult stage during the months of February through April or the period between September through November.

With unusual front appendages that look like hands and an affinity for hanging around golf course, I suppose mole crickets would do well with the country-club set. Shake a few hands, talk a little golf. You know! That kind of stuff! Problem is, they are only an inch or two long, so they don't make much of an impression with six-footer.

Mole crickets have fat bodies and the aforementioned adapted front limbs with spade-like fingers called dactyls that are used for digging and swimming. They are light brown in color and have beady, black eyes. They also have wings on their back that vary in length depending on the species. To me they look a lot like a cross between a prawn and a cricket, with hands like a mole.

Mole crickets are actually quite common. They are found on every continent except Antarctica, but are rarely seen because they are nocturnal and live most of their lives underground. The life of a mole cricket begins as an egg in an underground burrow. Upon hatching, the larval nymph looks like a very small version of an adult mole cricket, but has no wings. The mole cricket nymph grows and molts several times in the next few weeks. Some mole crickets become adults in the fall, while others over-winter as nymphs underground.

Mole crickets are omnivores and diet depends on species. Some mole crickets mainly eat the roots and shoots of turf grass like Bermuda grass or Bahia grass. Others have a diet consisting more of grubs and worms. They are considered a garden pest because they will eat tomatoes, sweet peppers, eggplants, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, and peanuts, and tobacco seedlings. Mole crickets also build long galleries underground that can sever roots and kill grass. The underground tunnels cause dead patches of grass and raised earth that can be infuriating to golfers when the tunneling is performed on a putting green. Tunnels can be twenty feet in length. That's an obstacle even Tiger Woods would find distracting.

The predators that feed on mole crickets also cause damage by

molecricketdamage.gif
Mole cricket damage

digging them up. Raccoons and armadillos will dig up a mole cricket for a snack. Birds, rats, skunks and foxes will also savor a mole cricket meal. In addition, if you fail to score a reservation at your favorite restaurant, mole crickets can be fried and are fit for human consumption. Yummy!

To discover whether you have mole crickets make a solution containing one and one- half ounces of dishwashing detergent and two gallons of water. Spray or pour the solution on four square feet of grass and wait a couple of minutes to see if any mole crickets come to the surface. If you see two or more mole crickets you should consider taking further control measures.

Maintaining a healthy lawn can be a part of any integrated pest management strategy for mole cricket control. The lawn should not be cut too short, keep mower blades sharp to do as little damage as possible to the grass and do not over water the lawn. Anything that weakens the grass plant or its root system should be avoided so you don't attract mole crickets.





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Comments

derek byrne
10 Mar 2009, 14:46
thanks for this info. ive been tryin to figure out what this was because it was swimming in my pool. i wasnt sure if it was poisonous or not but i have it in a bottle and i put dirt n it.
calvin moore
15 Aug 2009, 14:11
my lawn is dieing in a lot of spots i used a shovel to turn some spots and there were a lot of crickets i could not tell if they were mole crickets or not they were not on the surface they came up with a spade of dirt.could regular crickets kill my grass
leighnna402006@yahoo.com
14 Sep 2009, 20:31
how do i get rid of moe cricket
Sharon Naude
25 Sep 2010, 02:38
We have mole crickets in our lawn and are trying to get rid of them by applying soap powder and watering well. These little beasts crawl up from out of their burrows and are them picked up and disgarded. The question I have is what can we use to prevent this investation (it happens every year) and is there a product which is not harmful to the extensive bird life we have in our garden? Many thanks. Sharon
Ask the Exterminator
26 Sep 2010, 09:42
You are going to need a product that will soak down to where the mole crickets live under the surface. You might try a product like Eco Exempt Granules. See the product and its label at http://shop.asktheexterminator.com/eco-exempt-g-granules.html.
robert atlas
06 Mar 2011, 19:13
At the end of Jan 2011 I entered into an agreement for Landscapes unlimited to install sod in the front a sides of my house.
Annette Silva who said she was one of the owners took my order. Her company was putting in sod for one of my neighbors. she convienced us to use the same sod as my neighbor because it was the best in the summer months and was resistant to disease a bugs [We are snow birds] It has been 6 weeks since and the lawn is infested with MOLE CRICKETS Our lawn is dying. What recourse do we have?
Ask the Exterminator
07 Mar 2011, 12:01
Sounds like a contract issue. What guarantees are written in the agreement you signed? The new sod should not fail in a period of six weeks, but I am sure you were given instructions about watering. If no one followed the instructions given by the landscaper you may have no recourse.
lordis ilya
03 May 2011, 09:20
How Can I get rid of these bloody Mole Crickets?
My garden is full of them?
Ask the Exterminator
04 May 2011, 10:36
Try the Advion Insect Granules, but do not apply it in veggie gardens.
brianf
07 Aug 2011, 15:15
Do you know how to find molecrickets?
Asmock
31 Aug 2011, 08:23
Where does one purchase Nematac-S?
Ask the Exterminator
31 Aug 2011, 09:01
Google it! You'll find lots of suppliers.
Asmock
11 Sep 2011, 10:24
When should you apply Weed & Feed in relation to applying NemAttack-S?
Ask the Exterminator
13 Sep 2011, 11:51
I contacted the manufacturer, but they failed to respond to my question. I know for certain the fertilizer will not affect the nematodes and I am fairly certain the herbicides won't either.
Asmock
15 Sep 2011, 15:20
Ok! You have wonderful advice for the pests in the yard and we have applied the NemAttack-S but what advice, if any, might you have for the out of control weeds? We have every weed imaginable in this yard and I am at a loss as to where to start. We applied weed and feed in the spring and are almost set to do it again but it hasn't helped much yet. Any recommendations?
Ask the Exterminator
15 Sep 2011, 15:24
Herbicides (weed killers) work best when weeds are growing. In mid-summer, weed growth slows down, just like grass growth. As temperatures begin to cool off and there is more rainfall, the weed kills will be more effective.
RickInTampa
29 Mar 2013, 13:30
I have a 8' x 16' raised bed garden with peppers and tomatoes. Mole Crickets were eating the roots and killing the plants. They even ate 2 small plants from the bottom up; the entire plant; just pulled it all the way down into the ground and ate it!

I put down some Ortho - Bug B Gone Max, watered the garden and the next morning we found 9 of them sick and crawling in and around the garden.
RickInTampa
30 Mar 2013, 11:08
Update: The next day we watered (no new application of Bug B Gone, just watered) and found 8 more. That's 17 now, from a 8' x 16' garden. I collected them and put them in a can so that they would not recover. They are very hard to see in the grass and leaves so I am guessing that I maybe only have seen about half of what was there.
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