Mole crickets acquired their name because they look like moles. Much like moles, they nest in lawns, feed on grubs and worms and can cause damage to valuable root systems. Though located in many states, Mole crickets are more of a problem in the southeast and southwest. In fact, this species of cricket is thought to be responsible for more than $30,000,000.00 of damage each year in the state of Florida alone!
MOLE CRICKET BIOLOGY
Mostly nocturnal, mole crickets forage for food at night. In the southern most regions, they will remain active year round. Eggs will be laid continuously and since adult females lay hundreds of eggs, lawns can become infested within a year if left untreated.
Mole cricket eggs hatch in less than a month and immature crickets will quickly start to forage through turf looking for small organisms on which to feed. This tunneling causes damage to plant and grass root systems.
Although young crickets can jump fairly well, they will loose this ability as they mature and eventually rely on moving through the ground as their main means of travel.
Mole crickets are good fliers. They have been observed to fly more than 5 miles and may do so during mating periods. Mole crickets are attracted to lights which leads to houses. Once they land and begin looking for food on residential property, mole crickets will more than likely want to stay. As they begin creating nests, you will start to notice burrows or holes which resemble moles. Although smaller, many people mistake them for moles and try trapping with conventional mole traps. Needless to say, this method of mole cricket control will not work.
WILL MOLE CRICKETS DAMAGE MY YARD
Mole crickets will damage grass, plants and flowers where they tunnel. And if the damage they do does not concern you, the damage their predators cause can be much more severe will cause may prompt you to treat.
Mole crickets are highly nutritious and once populations begin to grow, expect several species of wildlife to come looking for the bounty. Common predators of mole crickets include birds, rats, skunk, armadillos, raccoon and foxes. These animals will not have a noticeable impact on the mole cricket population but they certainly will destroy your lawn.
HOW TO TREAT FOR MOLE CRICKETS
If mole crickets are active in your neighborhood and you want to make sure they don’t appear in your yard, a little bit of preventive maintenance will go a long way. Using the bait below, you can generally stop them from getting established where you treat. But the liquid spraying will last longer and control a much broader range of insect pests.
BEST MOLE CRICKET BAIT
Although baiting for mole crickets won’t work well to control a large population, it can work by intercepting foraging crickets who enter your yard. Treat every 2-3 months with SCATTER BAIT at the rate of 1 LB per 2500 sq/ft OR 1 Tablespoon by any visible dens. Foraging mole crickets love this protein based food and will die within 2-3 days of feeding.
Simply sprinkle it around the yard making sure to get all property borders and mulch or flower beds they might target. Scatter Bait performs best when wet so it is most readily accepted after a rain or lawn watering.
BEST MOLE CRICKET SPRAY
Established mole cricket populations will require chemical treatments to knock them out. Due to where and how mole crickets behave and live, expect to do several treatments over the course of any growing season. Usually one in the spring will keep them from getting established; one in the fall can kill off burrowing adults. If you are persistent and stick to a schedule, you should be able to keep them under control but you must remain diligent.
First, be sure to start treatments as soon as you know you have a problem.
Second, don’t expect one application to knock them out. In most cases, it will require at least two. The best approach is to treat once a month for three months. After that, treating every 3 months will keep them from coming back.
Since Mole Crickets are hard to kill, you need a strong working active and ideally, a non-repellent. These actives won’t spook target pests and cause them to nest away from where you treat.
The best product for the job is our PROTHOR. This active is highly effective on a range of garden pests and in particular, mole crickets. Over the years, many of the pyrethroids used on mole crickets have caused some to be resistant but this won’t happen with Prothor.
Use 1 jug per acre or about .6 oz per 1,000 sq/ft.
When treating for mole crickets, its important to use a lot of water. Active nests and burrows you see should be drenched to help get chemical where it matters. And over the turf, pine straw and wood chips where they might be hiding and using our hose end sprayer (listed below) is generally best.
With our sprayer, you should add 3 oz of Prothor to the tank and then fill it with water to the 5 gallon line for every 5,000 sq/ft of turf you want to spray. Next, hook it to your garden hose and disperse the entire amount over 5,000 sq/ft. Yes, this will use a lot of water. But again, a lot of water is needed to get the chemical down into the ground where mole crickets like to nest.
Mole crickets are a tough and persistent pest and if left to nest in your yard untreated, they won’t go away. Since most traditional insecticides will only push them around the yard, you’ll be best served using either Prothor. This non-repellent will take a few extra days to work but will do the job for good. Once the local crickets are gone, treat with Scatter Bait every 2-3 months to ensure they don’t come back.
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