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Mole Cricket Alert - 2009

May 19, 2009
by Rick Brandenburg

Dr. Sarah Thompson, examines mole cricket eggs
Dr. Sarah Thompson, examines mole cricket eggs

written by Dr. Sarah Thompson, BASF

For those of you located in the coastal areas, you have probably noticed some mole cricket damage. This damage is caused by last year’s mole crickets that are now adults. The large size, big appetite, and high mobility of these pests make this springtime damage extremely unsightly. Damage this time of the year appears as tunnels on the surface and large holes, which are calling chambers produced by the males. Calling chambers essentially act as megaphones to amplify the call of the males in order to attract females for mating.

Over the next few weeks, the female adults will participate in nightly flights in order to locate males, mate, and then lay eggs. Although spring adult mole cricket damage may be unacceptable for you, it is recommended that you wait to take any large-scale remedial action since the adults will experience natural mortality shortly after mating. If you do choose to treat at this time, any insecticide applications that you make now should only be focused on high priority areas, and should not be applied on a widespread basis. It is more appropriate to wait until the new generation of crickets has hatched from the eggs that the adults are now laying. Small, newly hatched nymphs are more easily controlled with insecticides and timing your control measures to coincide with the presence of small crickets minimizes your chances of having late season damage. Control of adults will also not be very effective at this time, so you can save yourself time and money by targeting the new generation in late June or early July.