Mole crickets are probably one of the most peculiar looking pests that lawn owners will encounter. They look almost alien-like, and they can do major damage to turfgrass, flowers, and vegetables.
If you look closely at the mole cricket, you will notice its peculiarly shaped hands. Their claws are adapted specifically for digging and tunnelling through soil; as a result, they do—a lot. When they make their tunnels in the ground, they tear up the grass’ roots. Mole crickets also eat the roots and shoots of grass. If you have an infestation, you will notice brown patches around your yard. Their presence may also attract predators such as raccoons and armadillos, who will further dig up the turf in search of the crickets to eat. The easiest way to determine whether you need to take corrective action against the mole crickets in your grass is to take 1.5oz of liquid dishwashing soap and mix it with 2 gallons of water, sprinkle it over 4 square feet of turf, and see if more than two mole crickets appear on the surface within three minutes.
The most effective way of treating mole crickets is to introduce a natural enemy of the pest, the Larra wasp. Just hearing the word “wasp” sounds like a lot of trouble, but the Larra wasp is not only incredibly easy to attract and manage, it is harmless and helpful. It kills about 25% of the mole cricket population per generation, and they go through three generations in the time that mole crickets go through one. The adult wasps themselves are not parasitic, but they lay eggs on the mole crickets; when the larva hatches, it feeds off of the cricket’s blood and eventually eats the cricket once fully grown. The wasps themselves do not sting humans unless caught and held in the hand, and they are solitary, thus have no nest to defend. It is much more beneficial for them to flee than to sting. To attract Larra wasps to your yard, simply plant their favorite host wildflowers, Spermacoce verticillata and/or Chamaecrista fasciculata.
Lawn care can be highly rewarding and satisfying given the time, effort, and heart. Don’t let a small setback discourage you. If you are looking for a new start for your lawn, check out our online store or contact The Grass Outlet today to discuss your options.