Mole Cricket Description
Mole crickets belong to the family of grasshoppers and crickets and have been on the troublesome insects and threat to lawn. They do not bite and are not poisonous to human beings while if you provoke them to do so, the bite of this insect is totally harmless. Mole crickets are only destructive to grasses in greenhouse and house gardens. They are prevalent around the United States but are considered as the number one pests in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and the other coastal areas.
Mole crickets are not identical to crickets but have some similarities when it comes to their appearance. They inherit the chirping noise and back legs structure from crickets. Though a mole cricket can be mistakenly identified as crickets, still they have a few unique characteristics.
An adult mole cricket is typically a large insect compare to others because it can grow up to 1 inch long. They have a multi-segmented body in brown to black color with the light yellow underside. In addition to this, mole crickets also have 3 pairs of legs in which the front ones are stocky shovel-like legs that they used for digging the soil. Nymphs look exactly the same as the mature mole crickets but are usually smaller in size without wings.
Adult mole crickets overwinter in the ground. One female mole cricket can generate 10 clutches of eggs with more than 450 eggs in one clutch. She will stay with her eggs until they hatch into nymphs. Nymphs will feed on the grassroots and other organic matter which makes them immature crickets that cause damages to lawns during the summer and autumn. Once they mature, male mates with females and the cycle begin again.
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The mole crickets are usually active during winter climates especially to areas along the coast in the United States. Their damage is recognized with a series of tunnels, brown patches and dying grass. They feed on grasses and agricultural crops and in most cases, damaging and killing them.
Improper mowing and the presence of excessive water and fertilizer can result to having plenty of thatch that will attract mole crickets in the lawn. They will find the area a perfect habitat and will spend their winter on the deep tunnels created by their digging effort.
Using predator insects such as crabronid wasp and tachinid fly to control mole crickets is among the effective ways to eliminate these pests. Another alternative to this is treating the infested area with soapy water or chemical insecticides. In case any of this works, you can ask for the help of a pest management professional in your location.