Mole Crickets really are one of those special types of creatures which are extremely unusual in their appearance. They are between 1 - 2 inches long and have what appear to be hands that look just like those of a Mole. Nevertheless they are a major cause of concern for the lawn owner due to the severity of damage they can cause to sod, plants and vegetables.
Mole Cricket Damage
The damage caused by Mole Crickets is usually wide spread and erratic over the lawn surface. The damaged grass turns brown as it's dying off from the Mole Crickets damage which is caused by the feeding on the root system and tender green leaf of the lawn. Whereas the damage caused in our lawn care by a disease is usually uniformly round - having spread from a small spot and expanding to a larger and larger size as it grows outward, the Mole Cricket damage is seen as less uniform and more sporadic.
This occurs because the damage which is being caused by Mole Crickets is occurring as the creatures keep burrowing more and more tunnels through the soil in all directions. Often the lawn area between the tunnelling remains unaffected, creating a spidery vein like appearance on the sod.
Mole Crickets are also a problem to the home gardener, as they equally enjoy eating all those lovely fresh vegetables which are so well cared for the the gardener.
Testing For Mole Crickets
Determining whether or not Mole Crickets are present in the lawn is very simple and easy. Simply mix up some dish wash detergent with some water in a watering can, a nice soapy mix is best. Now water out the entire contents of the watering can over an area of about 4 feet by 4 feet in an area of turf suspected of having Mole Crickets.
Mole Crickets will hate the detergent and rise to the surface very quickly. If more than 2-4 Mole Crickets are spotted in this small area, then controlling them is recommended.
Controlling Mole Crickets
The good news is that controlling Mole Crickets in the home lawn is very easy and very environmentally friendly too. The best methods include using Parasitic Nematodes which are explained in another article on this site. Parasitic Nematodes should be applied to the lawn between February and April OR from September through to November for effective control of Mole Crickets.
Inviting parasitic wasp species such as Larra and Sphecid to come to the yard by planting Partridge pea Flower and False Buttonwood will also greatly help, as these wasps lay their eggs directly on the Mole Cricket. Once the eggs hatch the larvae will then eat the Mole Cricket. The good news with these wasps is that they are not aggressive toward humans or pets, and once their food supply is used up, they will fly away.
Chemical Control Of Mole Crickets
Mole Crickets can also be controlled using chemical insecticides, these are freely available for purchase from the local gardening store.
Remember, all chemicals are manufactured differently with different methods of use, so be sure to read the product label for specific instructions on the use of the product you have purchased.