Mole crickets, so called because they look like moles, live underground and feed on small insects, plant roots, tubers, vegetables, underground stems of grasses and earthworms found in the soil. They are cylindrical in shape and measure around 1.25 inch in length. They are generally brown in color and are covered in fine silky hair. They have paddle-shaped forelegs, which make them suitable for burrowing. The legs are also very sharp to enable root-cutting. Mole crickets do not bite or sting and they also do not damage fabric or paper products unlike house crickets.
Mole crickets generally cause problems to crops since they reside underground and tend to damage the root systems. Female mole crickets lay hundreds of eggs, increasing the danger to plant life if not controlled. Mole cricket eggs hatch in 10 to 40 days.
Though mole crickets mostly stay underground, they are good fliers and are found to fly even up to 5 miles, especially during mating periods. Mole crickets are very nutritious and are a popular treat for rats, birds, foxes, armadillos and raccoon.
One way to control mole crickets is to use a chemical treatment. Started early enough, this would also be effective in preventing mole crickets from entering your lawn. Maxforce Granules is an effective chemical that can be used. These are sprinkled around the yard before a rain. Mole crickets feeding on these granules die immediately. However, this is effective only if the mole crickets have not yet established themselves in the yard. If there are mole cricket nests already, it would need regular chemical treatment of once a month for at least three months. Orthene Turf WP and Talstar Granules are other popularly used products for controlling mole crickets. These chemicals are also available in concentrated liquid form, dusts, wettable powders and aerosol forms . Acephate (Orthene), carbaryl (Sevin), chlorpyrifos (Dursban), diazinon (Diazinon, Spectracide), Malathion, or propoxur (Baygon) are other commonly used insecticides.
Some basic methods to control mole crickets from entering the house are: avoid use of bright lights outside since crickets get attracted to bright lights; seal any cracks in the around doors, windows and in the walls and floors; keep the area in and around the house dry and clean since mole crickets prefer moist environments; ensure that low-growing vegetation is planted at least 12 inches away from the house; sprinkle cricket baits available in the market; sticky traps can be used to trap crickets, which can then be flushed down the toilet or destroyed; take the help of a good pest control company if the problem with crickets is too unmanageable.
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