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 on any significant population, it can work by intercepting foraging crickets who enter your yard. Treat every 2-3 months with MAXFORCE GRANULES at the rate of 1 oz for every 1800 sq/ft. 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. Maxforce performs best when wet so it is most readily accepted after a rain or lawn watering.
SPRAY EXISTING MOLE CRICKET NESTS ^
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. 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, using the Maxforce listed above will usually keep them from coming back. Alternatively, spraying with either of the two products listed below will keep them away as long as you treat every 2-3 months.
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 97% ORTHENE. 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 Orthene.
Use 1 oz per 1-3 gallons of water per 1,000 sq/ft. The 1 lb bag is enough to treat about 16,000 sq/ft of turn.
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, adding some SPREADER STICKER to your tank mix will help by getting the active down into the soil.
Add 1 oz of Spreader Sticker with every 1 oz of Orthene to help get deep penetration.
With our sprayer, you should add 2 oz of Orthene and 2 oz of Spreader Sticker to the tank and then fill it with water to the 5 gallon line. Next, hook it to your garden hose and disperse the entire amount over 2,000 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.
For the longest time, we had a product labeled for Mole Crickets called Orthene WP. It had a 75% Acephate active and worked great for mole cricket control programs. That product was taken off the market over 10 years ago but there is another product which uses the same exact formulation known as FIRE ANT KILLER. If you know of the old Orthene formulation and would like to get something like it, the Fire Ant Killer is as close as you’ll find on the market today. It does have a strong smell – like rotten eggs or bad cabbage – but it works. And since it’s labeled for use on the ground for fire ant mounds, the label usage allows for applications to the same location and site where mole crickets reside.
ODORLESS MOLE CRICKET SPRAY FOR THE YARD ^
If you’re put off by the sulfur like smell of orthene, go with PROTHOR. This odorless concentrate is another non-repellent designed for use in turf, plants and shrubs for a wide range of insect pests.
Prothor will take a few days to kill mole crickets much like the Orthene. But because they don’t know its present, they won’t scatter or relocate even after you treat.
Prothor goes a long way and lasts a long time. The small 27.5 oz jug is enough to treat an acre.
Use .6 oz per 1,000 sq/ft in 2-3 gallons of water along with 1 oz of the Spreader Sticker listed above. Treat once and after 2 weeks, they should be gone. If you notice more activity a month later spray again.
Using our Hose End sprayer listed above, you’ll need to add 1.2 oz of Proth and 2 oz of Spreader Sticker to the tank. Next, fill the sprayer to the 5 gallon line with water and hook it to your garden hose. Spray the entire tank over 5,000 sq/ft. For a 4,000 sq/ft area, add 2.4 oz of Prothor and 4 gallons oz of Sticker and fill the sprayer with water to the half way mark. Spray the entire amount over 10,000 sq/ft.
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 Orthene or Prothor. These non-repellents take a few extra days to work but they’ll do the job for good. Once the local crickets are gone, treat with Maxforce Granular bait every 2-3 months to ensure they don’t come back.
CONTACT US ^
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