Mole crickets are invasive pests found throughout Florida and the southeastern United States. These pests can damage any species of turfgrass, in addition to crops and vegetables. There are three major species found in Florida: the tawny mole cricket, the southern mole cricket, and the short-winged mole cricket. Keeping these pests from destroying your lawn can be a daunting task. When is the best time to implement prevention and elimination techniques? When is mole cricket season in Florida?
Unfortunately, mole crickets are active year-round in Florida. However, they do the most damage in spring (from March to June) and in fall (from August to October).
Mole crickets are a unique family of crickets with hand-like front legs they use to dig through the soil. In fact, they spend the majority of their lives underground. This tunneling is what causes damage to your lawn. As they tunnel through the soil near the surface, they sever the roots of your grass, push dirt upwards to create bulges, and eat roots and shoots as they go. This, in turn, causes brown patches on your grass and leads to an increase in weeds. They are also a common food source for armadillos, raccoons, and birds who will dig up your yard in search of them. Mole crickets will damage any species of turf, but especially bahiagrass and bermudagrass.
Once they have been identified and eliminated, prevention methods should be implemented to keep them from reappearing in the future. Keep an eye out for mole crickets in your garden. Fill any cracks in your yard’s soil with kerosene-soaked sand. Before planting new seeds, soak them in iodine for 10 minutes. Avoid using turf grasses that attract them (Bermudagrass, Bahiagrass, etc.) in favor of turfs that are less prone to damage (Zoysiagrass and centipedegrass). In your yard or garden, try using natural repellent plants and essential oils such as marigold, lemongrass citronella, and peppermint. Encourage natural predators such as birds, frogs, lizards, and snakes to visit your yard.