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Adult mole crickets lay eggs in the soil, and the immature mole crickets will live in the soil until they are full grown, where they feed and tunnel.
Mole cricket damage includes tunneling, which causes grass to dry out, and feeding on the roots, which causes grass to die.
When inspecting for mole crickets in your yard, it's important to know signs of mole crickets in your yard, and when this mole cricket damage will become apparent in your yard.
Identify Mole Cricket Damage
Mole crickets cause a lot of damage by tunneling under the surface of your turf, feeding on roots of grass and other organic matter in the soil. The tunneling can cause extensive damage to your turf:
Since tunneling generally occurs close to the surface, small bulges may be visible on the top of your turf and soil.
Your lawn may feel spongy because it has become detached from the roots.
In areas where there has been tunneling activity, the grass will brown and die.
Feeding activity will also cause grass to die.
When To Look For Damage
Mole crickets lay eggs in the soil around late spring or early summer, where the mole cricket nymphs (immature mole crickets) will develop and feed underground. You will see the adult mole crickets flying and mating at this time.
The damage from feeding nymphs will likely not become apparent until the nymphs have gotten large, which happens in the spring, after the overwintered nymphs begin feeding again when temperatures warm up. While this will tip you off to the presence of mole crickets in your yard, and the damage will be obvious, this isn't a great time to treat, since the crickets will be large and more resistant to treatment.
Inspect For Nymphs In Summer
Even though mole cricket damage will be minimal in the summer, it is the best time to treat. You can inspect your lawn for juvenile mole crickets by applying a detergent and water solution (about 2 tablespoons of soap to one gallon of water) to your soil in the areas that have experienced damage in the spring. Test only a few square feet of your turf to keep the solution concentrated, and after a few minutes, if mole crickets are present they will emerge. This is best done in the early morning or evening.
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