Lawn Mole Crickets
Bahai, bermuda or other grasses dry, brown and dying? Could be lawn mole crickets. What they are and what to do about them.
Several of the Scapteriscus species of mole crickets attack lawns. They are greenish brown insects with short front legs and wide flat feet about 1.5 inches long.
What does it look like?
Areas of damage are large, brown, dying or dead. You will find small piles of soil scattered around them. You will find mole cricket damage most often in bermuda or bahai grasses, but they also enjoy feasting on centipedegrass, zoysia and St. Augustine grasses.
How does it manifest?
Mole crickets damage lawns by tunneling the top 1 to 2 inches of soil, which uproots plants and causes them to dry out and die. The crickets also feed on grass roots at night and may tunnel up to 20 feet of soil before sunrise.
What can you do about it?
To check for mole crickets, make a solution of 1 oz. dishwashing detergent in 2 gallons of water and drench a four square foot area of the lawn. Mole crickets will come to the surface within 5 minutes if they are present. If they are, treat the lawn with a chemical containing acephate, chlorpyrifos, or diazinon. Wait 36 hours before watering again. Retreatment may be neccessary to eradicate all mole crickets. Preventative treatment includes mowing and watering the lawn in early June or July after eggs hatch and before young nymphs do a lot of damage to your lawn. Mole crickets are non-active in dry soil.