Mole Cricket Adult, photo by M. Bertone (NCSU)
Recognize these guys? Over the past several years, mole crickets have become a serious turf pest in the eastern and southern parts of the state, especially along the North Carolina coast. This year, with a mild winter/warm spring and considerable rainfall, mole crickets have become a big problem in some areas. Mole crickets are very mobile due to their ability to tunnel several feet in the soil, making them harder to control once they become active. This spring, the adult mole crickets are causing much more damage than we typically observe. These large crickets are even more difficult to control and typically we don’t recommend spending money trying to control them. However, in many locations, the damage is quite serious and, this spring, we may need to be more aggressive. Whenever possible, try to control mole crickets early in the spring to target nymphs and adults of both the southern and tawny mole cricket, interrupting their life cycle before the adults have a chance to lay eggs. Specific products mole cricket control include Provaunt, Advion Insect Granules or Triple Crown at the high rate for commercial applicators.
See more from NC State’s Turfgrass Program.