This insect is most common in the sandier coastal soils of south Mississippi. It is rarely a problem in the northern part of the state. Adult mole crickets are light brown, and the front legs are short with shovel-like feet that are well adapted for digging. The young, or nymphs, are identical to the adult except smaller. Damage is the result of nymphs and adults feeding on grass roots and tunneling through the turf, which also destroys roots and causes excessive drying.
These insects overwinter as partly grown nymphs, and damage is often most severe in the spring, because of heavy feeding and tunneling by large nymphs. Depending on species and location in the state, adult mole crickets fly, mate, and lay eggs from mid March to late May. Newly hatched nymphs are present in June and early July. Even though damage is not obvious at this time, this is when treatment is most effective, because small nymphs are easiest to control.
To check for this insect, mix 1 ounce of liquid dishwashing soap in 2 gallons of water, and pour this solution slowly over about 4 square feet of turf. If mole crickets are present, they will crawl to the soil surface within just a few minutes. Be sure to follow label directions for pre- and post-treatment watering when treating for mole crickets. It is usually necessary to water following treatment to leach the insecticide into the soil where the mole crickets live.
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