Mole Cricket Reminder

— Written By Thomas Glasgow and last updated by Jami Hooper
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As noted in a March 24, 2021, article on our home page, mole crickets have become the number one insect pest of home lawns, golf courses, municipal and commercial properties, and sod farms along the North Carolina coast. While March is not a time of peak activity by any means, it’s still possible to scout for infestations. The most effective way to scout for these insects is to apply a soapy water flush to multiple 1-square-yard sections in suspect sites. The following images from a centipedegrass lawn were taken in New Bern on March 22. See Mole Crickets in Turf for information on biology and control.
Mole cricket

Flushed out of hiding. Note the strong shovel-like foreleg (red arrow).

Mole cricket

Dorsal view. Given the amount of damage observed on the site, this is probably a tawny mole cricket
rather than a southern mole cricket. However, this picture does not provide sufficient detail to know for certain.

Mole cricket damage

Wider view of damaged lawn; leftover soap suds to the right. An insecticide application is justified now, and will also be needed in early summer when the new generation hatches out. Careful scouting and as-needed intervention will be needed for multiple years following on this site. In addition, damage at this level will require renovation to bring the lawn back. Overseeding in early to mid-May, when soil temperatures have risen to a more suitable level, would be a good step in the process.