Mole Crickets

Mole crickets are common turfgrass pests. Three species of mole crickets are considered pests in the Southeast United States.: tawny, southern, and short-winged mole crickets.

This insect’s “hands” are uniquely adapted for digging, allowing it to tunnel through the soil. Sod farms, home lawns, golf courses, and pastures can all play host to mole crickets. Any species of turfgrass can be damaged by mole crickets, but they particularly like bahiagrass and bermudagrass.

Mole crickets make tunnels in the ground, severing grass roots and causing the earth to bulge upwards. They also eat the roots and shoots of grass. Mole cricket damage looks like ugly brown patches. Predators such as raccoons and armadillos may further dig up the turf to snack on the crickets.

Mole crickets do the most damage from late August to early October. There is one generation of mole crickets per year, with eggs typically being laid in April and May. Mole crickets are nocturnal, which means they do their dirty work at night.

An easy way to determine whether there are mole crickets in your yard is to mix 1.5 ounces of liquid dishwashing soap into 2 gallons of water and sprinkle the mixture over 4 square feet of turf. If two to four mole crickets appear within three minutes of application, corrective action is justified.