Recognizing Mole Crickets in Action
Some species harm turf through tunneling and uprooting grasses, but others feed heavily on roots and dine on tender shoots on the surface. Few tiny seedlings are safe. Disturbed soil where adults emerge from the ground is an early sign of spring activity. Uprooted seedlings and raised, molelike runways just below the soil's surface show where their spadelike front legs have tunneled through soil. By the time dead turf becomes visible in late summer, mole cricket damage is done.
Understanding Mole Cricket Life Cycles
Depending on soil temps and soil moisture, eggs hatch in 10 to 40 days, with three weeks most common.4,2 By late spring and early summer, damage has started. With each molting stage, nymphs become larger, more destructive and more resistant to control. Warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda grass and Bahiagrass, are favorite targets. Because mole cricket nymphs strike during these grasses' peak growth, their damage often stays hidden until it's too late.
Monitoring Activity and Timing Pest Controls
Nymphs are most vulnerable in late spring and early summer when they're newly hatched, close to the surface, and about 1/4-inch long. By the time they reach 1/2 inch in length a few weeks later, they burrow deeper into protective soil and become more effective at evading treatments.3,1 By monitoring spring activity and proactively treating those areas before nymph damage ever shows, you can hit these pests hardest and most effectively.
Testing and Treating Active Areas
If you suspect mole crickets at work, a simple soapy-water flush brings them to the surface and confirms your suspicions. If your soil is dry, water it well. Mole crickets stay deeper in dry soil, but moisture brings them higher. Mix 2 tablespoons of liquid dishwashing detergent (some experts say lemon-scented may work best 2,3) with 2 gallons of water in a watering can, and drench an area about 2 square feet. As the soap penetrates, mole crickets pop up. Look closely so you don't miss tiny nymphs. If two to four mole crickets surface in three minutes, your lawn needs help.4,2
For successful control, pesticides must be able to reach mole crickets in their protective, sub-surface tunnels. Ideal treatments also expand your coverage window as nymphs hatch and start to feed. AMDRO Quick Kill Lawn Insect Killer (Granules), AMDRO Quick Kill Outdoor Insect Killer RTS and AMDRO Quick Kill Outdoor Insect Killer Concentrate deliver powerful, subsurface-reaching control to conquer these resilient, elusive pests. As an added bonus, the granular formula keeps working in the soil for up to two months, while the liquid ready-to-spray and concentrate forms work up to three months after application, so you can get back to summertime fun.
Whether you're dealing with destructive mole crickets or other troublesome pests, you don't have to go it alone. The people who bring you AMDRO products and the full line of AMDRO pest controls are committed to ending pest disruptions in your life and helping you protect and enjoy your home and lawn.
Amdro and Amdro Quick Kill are registered trademarks of Central Garden & Pet Company.
1. Brandenburg, Rick L., “Keeping Mole Crickets in Check," North Carolina State University, Grounds Maintenance.
2. Brandenburg, Rick L. and Williams, C.B. III, “Mole Cricket Management in NC," North Carolina State University, May 2002.
3. Cobb, Patricia P., “Controlling Mole Crickets on Lawns and Turf," Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
4. Capinera, John L. and Leppla, Norman C., “Shortwinged Mole Cricket, Scapteriscus Abbreviatus Scudder; Southern Mole Cricket, Scapteriscus Borellii Giglio-Tos; and Tawny Mole Cricket, Scapteriscus Vicinus Scudder (Insecta: Orthoptera: Gryllotalpidae)," University of Florida 2004.