Mole crickets are nuisance pests that can cause significant damage to your Florida lawn. There are 7 species found in the United States with 3 of these found in the state of Florida. These pests are brown or tan in color with front legs that contain armored, claw-like appendages they use to tunnel through the soil. They are nocturnal pests and are often found destroying lawns and golf courses.
Mole crickets are an invasive species that were accidentally brought to the United States on cargo ships from South America. They are not native to the U.S. They have very few natural predators so they are allowed to reproduce freely with little to no restrictions.
Mole crickets cause damage to turf by leaving elevated burrows on topsoil as a byproduct of their digging. They also leave patches of dying grass across your yard and will feed on grass roots, causing it to die. Raccoons and armadillos will also dig holes in your yard in an attempt to dig them up for food.
You can attempt to keep mole crickets at bay by preventing them from coming into your yard in the first place. In your garden, keep an eye out for mole crickets. Fill any fissures in the soil in your yard with kerosene-soaked sand. Soak new seeds in iodine for 10 minutes before sowing. Turf grasses that attract them (Bermudagrass, Bahiagrass, etc.) should be avoided in favor of turf grasses that are less prone to damage (Zoysiagrass and centipedegrass). Use natural repellent plants and essential oils in your yard or garden, such as marigold, lemongrass citronella, and peppermint. Encourage natural predators to visit your yard, such as birds, frogs, lizards, and snakes.