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If a mole and a cricket could mate and have a baby, it would look like a mole cricket. These insects definitely have a mole-like appearance, especially toward their head. But, this likeness to moles is often missed, due to the fact that mole crickets are usually only about an inch and a half long. So, if you ever catch one of these critters in your yard, you'll have to examine it closely to truly appreciate how much it looks like a mole.
Mole crickets also have the word "cricket" in their name--and for good reason. Their hind section looks like a cricket. But, that cricket appearance is misleading for many species of mole cricket. Why? Because those cricket legs in the back are not made for jumping. If you come upon one of these creatures in your yard, they aren't going to jump away from you. They will run across the ground or burrow into the soil to get away. But, don't expect to see a mole cricket any time soon. Like other crickets, mole crickets are nocturnal.
If you're determined to see a mole cricket, here are two ways to do it:
Wait till nightfall; grab a flashlight and go hunting in your yard. For best results, do this after a heavy rainfall.
If you don't want to wait for it to rain, and you don't want to run around in the dark, you can fill a bucket with water and add a little bit of dish soap. Take that bucket out into your yard, where you suspect mole crickets to be, and pour the bucket of water out. Wait about an hour and go back and check the area where you poured the soapy water. If you have mole crickets in your yard, you should see mole crickets.
While mole crickets don't jump like other crickets, they do chirp. More specifically, male mole crickets chirp. But they don't chirp for fun. It is a mating call that lures females to them. For this reason, you are not likely to find male mole crickets crawling around in your yard. If you catch one above ground during a nighttime hunt, it is most likely going to be female.
Okay. Let's get back to the mole part of their name. Not only do mole crickets look like moles, they act like moles. They bore under the soil and often create raised mounds where they are tunneling. If you have these pests in your yard you should also see entry and exit holes. But, the most distinct visual clue that you have mole crickets will be the patches of dead grass. This is why the mole cricket is considered a lawn pest. As these strange, half-mole, half-cricket, bugs burrow under your lawn they will feed on the roots of your turfgrass as they go. But mole crickets are particularly fond of the larvae of ground insects and earthworms.
In our Southeast service area, we have three primary species of mole crickets. There is the short-winged mole cricket, the Southern mole cricket, and the tawny mole cricket. All of these species are nocturnal and all are most active in the fall months.
It is important to understand that, while mole crickets are a destructive pest to have in your yard, they can also lure other unwanted pests in as well. There are many animals that love to dine on mole crickets. The most common yard pests that love to eat mole crickets are raccoons, skunks, and armadillos. And, in the case of raccoons and skunks, these secondary pests can leave ticks and fleas in your yard while they are feeding on those mole crickets. It is a cascading problem.
Now that you know more about mole crickets that you probably wanted to, here's what you need to know most about them. Mole crickets can be controlled with professional pest control. If you have a bunch of mole crickets wreaking havoc on your lawn, you don't have to put up with them, or any of the other pests that can result from having mole crickets in your yard. At McCall, we'll get them all. Reach out today to get your lawn service in place.