What are Mole Crickets?
Mole crickets have become one of the more destructive insect pests on turf lawns in the southern United States. They are commonly found throughout the southeastern U.S. and can cause damage to all species of turf by tunneling through the soil and feeding on the roots. Bermuda grass is more often affected by mole crickets, although they can damage St. Augustine and Zoysia grasses as well. Of the many known species of mole crickets, three are known to cause serious damage to turf. All three of these species were introduced to the southern United States from South America, likely traveling on ships in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
Mole crickets spend the winter as adults deep under the soil in tunnels. When the soil temperatures start to warm up in the spring and night time temperatures are above 60 degrees, mole crickets will start to actively feed on turf grass roots. Mating will also begin in the early spring as males build special chambers to attract females by producing a long call or song. Both female and males can fly and can be found flying around outdoor lights during the night. After mating, the females will lay their eggs in chambers that are 6-18" deep (depending on soil type). Females can lay 35-40 eggs per clutch and have several clutches, producing hundreds of offspring in the matter of a year. After mating, the adults will usually die and few are left come June.
Once the eggs hatch, the nymphs start feeding in late May, early June; however, some southern mole crickets can hatch as late as August. The nymphs resemble adults, but lack any wings and are darker in color. Damage usually appears as light straw-colored areas resembling drought stress.
Mole crickets are named for their tunneling, like their mammal counterparts. The extensive tunneling breaks up the soil around the turf roots and the grass usually dies. Often, the tunneling produces mounds of soil that are considered unsightly by many homeowners. However, most of the damage to the turf occurs from the feeding of mole cricket nymphs or their young during the summer months. Heavy infestations during this period can result in exposed soil, as well as large dead patches that look similar to drought damage.
Proper fertilization is extremely important and Weed Man's exclusive brand of granular slow release fertilizer ensures that the turf remains healthy all year long. Adequate nitrogen levels will help the plant recover more quickly if it is thinned out. Proper watering is also important - be sure to follow Weed Man's proper watering instructions
to help prevent mole crickets on your turf. Ensure when the turf is mowed, it is cut at the recommended mowing height
for your turf species and with a sharp mower blade when the turf is dry.
Weed Man North DFW Can Help
Weed Man of North DFW consists of a team of trained professionals. We can recognize a mole cricket infestation and recommend a treatment to solve the problem. Weed Man uses only government approved products at the correct time to be most effective in controlling this serious lawn pest. If, at any time, you see an indication that you have a mole cricket problem, Weed Man will inspect your property FREE OF CHARGE! Just call us! If you do have mole crickets we can help protect your healthy turf and recommend the right course of action to help eliminate or control this problem.