Adult mole crickets have rounded, armor-like bodies with large beady eyes. They are covered with fine hair and have a soft, satin appearance. They reach a length of nearly 1 1/2 inches and are a dull brown. Adults have well-developed wings covering 3/4 of the abdomen when held at rest. They fly at night, can run quickly, but are poor jumpers. Nymphs resemble adults but are smaller and do not have fully developed wings. The front legs are shovel-like and modified for digging. One of the less savory aspects of mole crickets is that they squirt a foul-smelling brown liquid from anal glands when handled.
Mole Crickets – Injury Damage to Lawns:
There are two ways that Mole crickets cause injury and damage to the lawn. First, direct damage is caused by the mole crickets chewing on grass roots. Secondly, and probably more serious, is the damage caused by the burrows or tunnels. Mole Crickets loosen the soil around the root system, causing the roots to dry out. It tears plants from their growing places, destroys roots, and pushes mounds of soil above the turf. A single mole cricket may claw and tunnel through more than a dozen feet of lawn in a day.
Life Cycle of the Mole Cricket:
During early Spring, the female hollows out egg cells 3 to 10 inches deep into the soil. During March, they become active and feed. By May or June, they are mature and large numbers of adults leave the soil to mate. Feeding activity reaches a peak when temperatures are warm and moisture from rains or irrigation is extremely high. In the late Fall, they burrow deeper into the soil and from the overwintering cells.
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