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Mole Crickets

Mole Cricket Control

Neoscapteriscus sp.

Mole crickets are an invasive species, accidentally introduced around 1900 to the southeastern United States. The most destructive species are: the Shortwinged mole cricket, Neoscapteriscus abbreviatus (Scudder); the Southern mole cricket, Neoscapteriscus borellii (Giglio-Tos); and the Tawny mole cricket, Neoscapteriscus vicinus (Scudder). These mole crickets cause serious plant damage. There are some native species, including the northern mole cricket, Neocurtilla hexadactyla (Perty), distributed in the eastern US to South Dakota and Texas that do not cause damage to plants.

The adults have strong masticating mouth-parts as well as unusual fore legs that are short and able to excavate tunnels in the soil. Because of these traits, they can cause damage aboveground by feeding on seedlings, foliage and girdling stems at the soil level: and belowground to roots and tubers, even dislodging seedlings by their tunneling. They particularly like turf grass that has an abundance of thatch.

Females begin laying eggs just beneath the soil surface in spring and early summer. The nymphs develop during the summer and will cause damage by mid-July. Mole crickets hibernate as adults deep in the soil. Hibernating adults become active in the spring and form tunnels that can be close to the soil surface or at considerable depth.

There are a variety of products available to control Mole Crickets: In spring apply beneficial nematodes: Steinernema carpocapsae or Steinernema riobrave and/or : Beauveria bassiana based products such as Botanigard or Mycotrol. As temperatures warm, apply Nosema locustae: Semaspore or Nolo Bait. Throughout the summer apply Neem Oil or Azadirachtin sprays.

For more information please see our Grasshopper and Cricket Pests

Photo courtesy of Clemson University Department of Entomology, Soils & Plant Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service.

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