Tips for staying ahead of Mole Crickets
By Lane Tredway, Ph.D., technical services manager for Syngenta
Mole crickets are perhaps the most destructive pests that can infest a lawn. These large insects, which can be more than an inch in length, have shovel-like front legs designed for tunneling. They also feed on turfgrass roots and can quickly destroy and consume large areas of turf in a short period of time.
The most damage is caused by large nymphs and adults in the late summer and fall. However, these large insects are very difficult to control due to their sheer size. Thus, the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” definitely applies to mole cricket control.
The best time to control mole crickets is in the spring or early summer, long before any damage appears, when the eggs are hatching into small nymphs that are most sensitive to insecticide treatments. This timing varies by location and from year to year based on the weather conditions, ranging from April through June, so scouting is essential to determine the best timing each year.
The good news is that you don’t need a degree in entomology to scout for mole crickets. A simple soap water flush (1 oz. of lemon-scented dish soap per gallon of water) will quickly bring any mole cricket nymphs and adults to the turf surface. Mole crickets have a tendency to invade the same spots year after year, so monitor previously infested areas to increase your chances of finding a population. For more details and a demonstration of a soap water flush, watch the video below.
Controlling mole crickets
Meridian insecticide is an effective option for mole cricket control. If preventive mole cricket treatments are not made, an active infestation of large nymphs and adults late in the season can be controlled with Advion® insect granule, a bait formulation specifically designed to control mole crickets and other insect pests. In addition to mole crickets, Advion insect granule controls several ant species and common nuisance insects in the landscape such as crickets, earwigs, silverfish and cockroaches.
Below is another video all about the control of mole crickets on golf courses. It is especially for greenkeepers in the Middle East and South Africa.