Get Rid Of Crickets
It is easier to kill mole cricket nymphs than mole cricket adults when getting rid of your mole cricket population. Even though the mole cricket nymphs are wingless, they look like adults. The mole cricket nymphs can cause considerable damage to grass and lawns during the summer months when it is warm.
Thoroughly treat the targeted area with a granulated systemic insecticide such as Imidacloprid .5 Granules. Imidacloprid is a systemic insecticide, reaching into the soil to kill the nymphs that cause the damage. An alternative treatment would be using Bifen XTS as a liquid treatment. The Imidacloprid .5 Granules will last 3-6 months and the Bifen XTS will last 30 days.
Mole Cricket Treatment-Timing-Important for Control
Mole crickets treatment should be timed to kill immature crickets (nymphs), which do the most damage to turf grasses. In the Southern states, treat with Imidacloprid .5 Granules during the latter end of May or beginning of June. These granules last 3-6 months. From mid June to July, most of the eggs have hatched into nymphs. The nymphs at this point are not large enough to cause much damage; mid June-July would be the time to apply the liquid insecticide such as Bifen XTS. If you use the Imidacloprid .5 Granules, since they last so long, they may be applied before June and last through the summer.
Spray the LambdaStar Ultracap 9.7 on all entry points, doors, windows, plumbing under the sinks, washer and dryer connections, baseboards and garage and basement areas and along the baseboards. Both of these products are odorless and last 3 months and are considered long term residual insecticides. Besides getting rid of crickets, they both can treat a multitude of insect pests.
If you don't want to use a residual insecticide to get rid of crickets, an excellent alternative is a very effective bait called, Intice 10 Perimeter Bait.
These granules would be used inside and outside in non-food areas, in crawl spaces, basements, garages, or the perimeter of the home.
Type of Crickets
There four types of crickets most common: House Crickets, Camel Crickets, Field Crickets and Mole Crickets.
Crickets can be extremely annoying, but unless there are large numbers, they do little damage.
House Crickets live outdoors but may come inside in considerable numbers. Adults have three dark bands on the head, 3/4-1 inch long and are light yellowish-brown.
They will eat almost anything, will chew on or damage silk and woolens. House crickets are nocturnal, staying hidden during the day. They have a distinctive chirping sound. They can be found in warm places like kitchens, basements, fireplaces, also in cracks and crevices and behind baseboard.
House crickets will attack paper, damage silk, woolens, fruits, and vegetables all kinds of foods, and even rubber. However, unless large numbers occur, such damage is usually minor.
Crickets are rather closely related to cockroaches. Both crickets and roaches have a gradual metamorphosis. The young nymphs resemble adults, but the wings are not fully developed.
Field crickets are widely distributed over the United States. This cricket is slightly longer than the House Cricket and is dark brown to Grey or black. Field crickets are seen in flower beds, overgrown grass and lawns. As an over-wintering insect, they lay eggs in the soil. Their eggs hatch in late spring and develop to adults by late summer.The life of a Field cricket is about ninety days.
Field crickets prefer to live outside, feeding on plants, but will come inside if food sources dry up or there or unfavorable extremes in temperatures.
Since Field crickets are attracted to lights at night, further control can be obtained by turning off these lights. Sealing off crack and crevices to keep them from entering homes and structures should be done as much as possible.
Camel crickets are also known as hump-back crickets due to its' hump-back appearance. Camel crickets are light to dark brown, about 1/2 -1 1/2 inch long.
These insects are not true crickets since they do not have wings.
Their diet is almost anything but camel crickets will feed on clothes. Camel Crickets are most often are found in crawl spaces and basements, but also like any cool and damp area like under logs or stones. Treat camel crickets as you would house crickets, but pay particular attention to crawl spaces and basements.
Camel crickets are light to dark brown, about 1/2 - 1 1/2 inch long. Their diet is almost anything but will feed on clothes. Camel crickets are most often are found in crawl spaces and basements, but also like any cool and damp area like under logs or stones. Treat as you would the House Cricket, but pay particular attention to crawl spaces and basements.
From left to right, Shortwinged mole cricket, Tawny mole Cricket and Southern Mole Cricket, on the right.*
Adult mole crickets are rounded, winged and 1 to 1.25 inches long. Mole crickets are seldom seen, because, like moles, they stay underground most of the time.
Mole Crickets overwinter as adults in the soil. Mole crickets fly and mate twice a year, spring and fall. At this time, you will find their exit holes of an inch or more. Mole cricket nymphs are wingless but look like small adults. The nymphs can become very numerous and cause great damage to your grass during the warm summer months. Control methods aimed at eliminating mole cricket nymphs yield the best results, simply because they easier to kill than adults. The adult Mole Crickets appear in late winter or early spring and will tunnel throught the soil surface (looks like a narrow tunnel). They are often seen on sidewalks, driveways, around swimming pools, and are attracted to lights. They lay their eggs in the soil in pockets. It is important to wait for the nymph stages in order to treat. Treating adult Mole crickets is very difficult. Treat the nymph stage instead of targeting the adult stages.
*Photograph by Lyle Buss, Univ. of Florida
If you are not sure that you have Mole Crickets you can soak the suspected area with soapy water. Mix 1-2 oz of a liquid dishwashing soap to a couple gallons of water. Starting at the outer edge of the suspected area, begin to soak the area. If the mole crickets are present, they will begin to emerge as you flush them out . This technique is also handy for searching for Chinch Bugs.
- Mole cricket damage appears as surface ridges. The turf has been damaged by tunnels made by the mole crickets.
- Both nymphs and adults feed on grass roots and stems, so there will be damaged or dead plants.
- The Northern Mole Crickets and the Southern Mole Crickets are two common mole cricket species that attack plants.
- Areas with sandy soil with Bermudagrass and bahiagrass are more affected than is St. Augustinegrass.
- Vegetable crops may also be damaged by the mole crickets.
Mole crickets are the number one pest of turf in southern Alabama and Georgia, throughout Florida, and are spreading quickly along the Gulf Coastal region and Eastern Seaboard. Their damage appears as brown, spongy areas within normal green grass. Upon inspection, you will notice the grass has been eaten just below the surface, separating the plant from its roots. Mole crickets are especially fond of Bermuda and centipede grass, but have also been found in St. Augustine lawns in the Florida Panhandle and along the Alabama coast.
Mole crickets prefer sandy soil and are active at night. When the soil is moist, Southern Mole crickets can tunnel beneath the surface to to 20 feet per night looking for insects and earthworms as a food source.The Tawny mole cricket feed on plants, damaging roots, stems and tubers.
Damage by mole crickets in turfgrass. Photo is courtesy of Univ. of Georgia.