A Mole Cricket: All You Should Know to Get Rid of This Insect for Good

If you have ever encountered such an insect as a mole cricket, it’s high time you got acquainted with it. Its appearance resembles a monstrous hybrid of a cockroach and a crayfish, and if it infests your lot, it will quickly destroy your crops as mole crickets breed extremely fast. Getting rid of aphids, mosquitoes and even the Colorado beetle is a piece of cake in comparison with eliminating mole crickets. In this review, we’ll tell you about mole crickets’ behavior and food patterns, whether it has any weaknesses and which products are best for finding out how to get rid of mole crickets in the garden or at least minimizing the damage they cause.

Mole Cricket Profile

A mole cricket is the subspecies of crickets and even attracts its females with the same melodious trills. But, unlike most of its herbivorous relatives, mole crickets prefer eating plants’ and tree roots, juicy potato tubers and root crops. It literally plows the soil in search of food, tunneling it and depriving it of moisture. The soil becomes dry and lifeless. So, trust me when I say they can easily turn your garden into a bare desert, devoid of grass and dotted with withered trees within a single season, especially given their incredible vitality and fertility.

A mole cricket can fly, swim, and dig four meters deep. A mole cricket arranges an earthen cave with dense walls, where it lays from 100 to 400 eggs 10-15 cm deep in the soil at. After 10-17 days, nymph larvae appear from these eggs. At first, they live in the nest, and after the first molt, they come out. The destructive impact of this insect is similar to that of a mole, however, it does more harm.

Do mole crickets eat grass? Mole crickets live underground, breaking through the passages and gnawing the roots of plants, spoiling seedlings and eating most types of crops. Its diet includes tubers and root crops, as well as stems of garden plants. They especially like cabbage and onions. They don’t eat actual grass, but they do bite its roots, leaving wastelands like the ones after a fire.

Do mole crickets bite?

Do mole crickets bite? Are they venomous? They look scary, but they are absolutely safe and cannot simply bite a human, so you will never find a photo of a mole cricket bite. The worst that can happen is that an adult individual will pinch your finger with its front paws. The pinches may hurt, but they won’t do much harm. Despite their frightening appearance, they are absolutely not venomous. However, don’t touch a mole cricket with bare hands if it has been treated with an insecticide.

Mole cricket damage. The crickets usually damage seedlings, feeding above ground on foliage or stem tissue, and below ground on roots and tubers. Girdling of the stems of seedling plants at the soil surface is a common form of injury, though young plants are sometimes severed and pulled below ground to be consumed. Additional injury to small plants is caused by soil surface tunneling, which may dislodge seedlings or cause them to desiccate. The Southern mole cricket does much more tunneling injury than a tawny mole cricket.

Are you wondering whether there are any mole crickets on your lot? Find a spot where there is somehow no grass and the soil is loose or find some expanded soil that has seemingly been dug by a mole. Water about 3 m2 intensely with a soap solution. If 2-2 mole crickets emerge within three minutes, be aware that your lot has already been infested and if you don’t take immediate action against these insects, you will soon own a small desert.

Getting Rid of Mole Crickets with Products Recommended by the Entomologists

Let us warn you that this pest is very difficult to get rid of as it struggles to survive to the last, and Mother Nature helps it with this. In the southern regions of any country, the farmers know that their attack is worse than the plague, especially if there is water nearby and the soils are sandy. All mole cricket control products are categorized into several types: the use of natural enemies, repelling plants, population control, insecticides and traditional remedies.

Biological control. The scientists recommend using biological methods rather than chemical ones. The University of Florida experts claim that biological control of mole crickets can be enhanced by the application of the entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema scapterisci and possibly to a lesser degree by other entomopathogenic nematodes. It is more effective when applied to adults than when applied to nymphs. In areas where parasitism of crickets by insects is low, the South American parasitoids mentioned previously under "natural enemies" can be introduced.

Getting Rid of Mole Crickets

Biological control. The scientists recommend using biological methods rather than chemical ones. The University of Florida experts claim that biological control of mole crickets can be enhanced by the application of the entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema scapterisci and possibly to a lesser degree by other entomopathogenic nematodes. It is more effective when applied to adults than when applied to nymphs. In areas where parasitism of crickets by insects is low, the South American parasitoids mentioned previously under "natural enemies" can be introduced.

Clemson University specialists agree as they state that “…nematodes are microscopic, worm-like parasites. Beneficial nematodes can be used to control a variety of plant pests, including larvae of black vine weevil, clearwing borers, cutworms, sod webworms, mole crickets and white grubs. It is important to select the proper nematode species when trying to control a particular pest”.

Although nematodes eliminate mole crickets effectively, their use is truly rocket science for many gardeners.

“Nematodes can be difficult to use for most home gardeners. They must be shipped, stored and used under specific temperature and moisture conditions, and generally must be used very soon after shipping. For this reason, they are best ordered from suppliers immediately after a pest problem is observed. A number of nematode products are available by mail order. Be sure the product you are ordering is specified for the pest you have and that you are able to provide proper environmental conditions for the nematodes. In general, nematodes require moist conditions, high humidity, and temperatures between 55 and 90 °F with little direct sunlight”.

how to get rid of mole crickets

Insecticides. Liquid and granular formulations of insecticides are commonly applied to the soil to suppress mole crickets. In some cases, insecticide application should be followed by irrigation because the insecticide must enter the root zone of the plants to be most effective, but this is an insecticide-specific requirement so the insecticide label should be read carefully for application directions. Bait formulations are also useful. Various baits have proven effective, but most contain wheat bran, cottonseed meal, or some other grain product plus 2-5% toxicant. The addition of 5 to 15% water and 2 to 5% molasses to the grain-toxicant mixture is sometimes recommended. Mole crickets feed at night so baits should be applied in the early evening. Baits are incompatible with irrigation and rainfall.

Apart from insecticides, there are traditional homemade methods of which the scientists approve: they are quite appropriate preventive measures. However, they should be complemented with mechanical elimination of the insects by catching or digging them out. The scientists from the University of Florida urge you to use pesticides less often: “Pesticides are a valid option for dealing with mole crickets - and a sometimes necessary one - but they do have drawbacks. Pesticides require regular reapplication, which costs you money. They also create potential hazards. Beneficial pollinators such as bees may suffer from pesticides. Rain or sprinklers may wash pesticide runoff into groundwater, which comes up through our taps”.

How to Get Rid of Mole Crickets Naturally

A soap solution is one of the simplest and easiest control methods. Prepare a soap solution once you see an entrance to the mole crickets’ underground mansion and apply it with a small stream directly into the hole. 1-2 liters of water will drive the insect out of the burrow. Your job is then to catch and neutralize it.

A glass ambush is a trap that uses the fact that mole crickets move underground in the tunnels that have already been dug. Digging a 0.5-0.7 litter glass jar on the trail will likely trap the pest on its bottom.

Get Rid of Mole Crickets Naturally

To make a honey or beer trap, you’ll have to dig a glass or a plastic container with smooth walls into the ground, cover the inner part with honey at about ¼ of its height for smell. Cover the top with a piece of iron and some straw. A mole cricket will be attracted to heat and honey or the beer smell.

You can also use manure and eggshells. You can scatter manure in small pieces and once the mole crickets lay their eggs there (you’ll have to watch out for that!), collect and burn it. Preparing an eggshell dessert is a yet another labor-intensive, but effective method: crush dried eggshells and season them with unrefined (wraparound) sunflower oil. This smelly bait is recommended to be placed on all the holes and furrows designed for planting seeds and seedlings. A mole cricket is bound to bite this dessert which is hazardous for it, as pro gardeners claim. Any unfinished eggshells will become a great fertilizer. All in all, this recipe is great: it is both safe and useful!

Repelling Plants and Substances

To repel mole crickets, you can plant marigolds, calendula or chrysanthemums in the intercrops of vegetable crops, spread out branches of coniferous trees (spruce, pine, fir) between potato beds (after flowering), stick the freshly chopped stakes or branches of aspen or alder 2-4 cm thick (always with bark) in the soil. It is recommended to stick such stakes at a depth of 25-30 cm at a distance of 1.5-2 meters from each other and replace them as they dry up. It is also recommended to water the spots marked with mole cricket trails with an infusion of onion husk and onion waste, plant a seedling or some pounded garlic into a hole, put fresh fish in the holes for planting vegetables, as it will give off a deterring smell when decomposed.

For those who are not afraid of more serious measures, we can recommend making large furrows and fill them with naphthalene or kerosene-soaked sand. When sowing seeds of parsley, beets, carrots and other root crops, water the furrows with iodine. Add 20 drops of iodine for every 10 liters of water.

Top 7 Mole Cricket Insecticides

The only organic product recommended by entomologists is nematodes, but, as we have mentioned above, they are difficult to transport. If you are willing to try one out, here is a best seller: Dr. Pye's Scanmask 10 Million Live Beneficial Nematodes for ~$16.59.

Dr. Pye's Scanmask

Let’s now move on to insecticides.

Timing the application of your mole cricket insecticide can be as important as choosing the right product, and late June is the ideal time to apply mole cricket insecticides, as the University of Georgia specialists warn. The nymph population increases throughout June and almost all eggs that are going to hatch will have done so by July. As summer goes on and the crickets grow, activity and damage increase and the crickets become harder to kill. For late season (August-October) mole cricket control, treat with a bait formulation since they search actively for foods in the late summer and early fall. The scientists list such effective active ingredients of insecticides as bifenthrin, carbaryl, imidacloprid, gammacyhalothrin, deltamethrin, permethrin.

We’ve picked 7 products containing the said active components for you to order online immediately.

Bayer Advanced 700288 Complete Insect Killer for Soil and Turf Granules, 10-Pound

Insect Killer for Soil and Turf Granules

This is the most economical product, an effective granule substance containing imidacloprid and cyfluthrin. It kills all the terrestrial and underground insects, it doesn’t require being solved in the water and is quite economical: as a 10-pound pack will be sufficient for 5,000 ft2. It can also kill worms, insect larvae and other pests. Use these granules to create a protective barrier after the initial treatment once you make sure all the mole crickets are dead. According to the feedback, it is effective even after heavy downpours.

Price: ~$12.99 Check the current price

Southern Ag Carbaryl 5% Dust Sevin, 16oz - 1 Pound

Southern Ag Carbaryl 5% Dust Sevin

This is the most eco-friendly insecticide found. A pack contains 1 pound of it and the sellers claim that an acre requires 20-40 pounds of the product. Its active ingredient carbaryl, also known as sevyn, has a benefit of not accumulating in human and animal bodies and is harmless even for small pets, such as rabbits. It is mostly used indoors and on small lots infested with parasites. Sometimes it is used as flea treatment as well.

Price: ~$15.98 Check the current price

Delta Dust Multi Use Pest Control Insecticide Dust, 1 LB

Delta Dust Multi Use Pest Control Insecticide Dust

Out of over 250 customer reviews, the majority are positive as the product has been given a 4.4 out of 5 stars rating. The dust contains deltamethrin and is suitable for fighting against ants, bedbugs, various beetles, cockroaches, crickets, fleas, silverfish, termites, arboretum, caterpillars, bees, millipedes, scorpions, spiders, wasps, moths, carpet beetles, suharnits, slugs, ticks and countless plant pests, including mole crickets. This product is far from being convenient, it can be applied with a brush, a broom or a mop, but nevertheless it is useful. A pack can treat a surface of up to 2000 sq ft. Its peculiarity is that Delta dust dehydrates insects and can be useless if there is a lot of water around. A mole cricket poisoned with deltamethrin can satisfy its thirst and survive. So, we only recommend using this product on dry sandy soils.

Price: ~$19.88 Check the current price

Spectracide HG-95830 Triazicide Insect Killer for Lawns & Landscapes Concentrate, Ready-to-Spray

Spectracide HG-95830

This is the most cut-rate product reviewed. This is a regular spray that is easy to use. This Spectracide with gammacyhalothrin being its active ingredient has earned a rating of 4 stars out of 5. It is sufficient for a 5,120 sq ft lawn, kills over 250 insect species, acts for three months and kills both larvae and adult mole crickets once it penetrates the soil and gets underground (that’s just what we need!). It is incredibly convenient to use as you simply connect the sprayer to a water hose and water the lawn! There is even a training video on Amazon.com. If you want to work manually, without using a hose, connect the sprayer to a regular container.

Price: from ~$10 Check the current price

Talstar

Talstar Pro 96 ounce (3/4 gallon) jug

This is the most effective product with long lasting effect. Its active ingredient is 7.9% bifenthrin which is a highly toxic pesticide. If using all the previous products was in vain, 1,590 Amazon.com users recommend the powerful Talstar rated at 4.7 stars out of 5. It is highly likely to poison all the fish and birds in the neighborhood, 75 insect species and it will absolutely sure kill your rabbits, if you have any. Talstar is lethal for the long-eared pets but is barely toxic for humans. A ¾ gallon jug will be enough for a large area if you dissolve it in a ratio from the manual: an ounce of the product in a gallon of water. Be careful as Talstar acts for three months continuously and effectively.

Price: ~$41.87 Check the current price

Permethrin SFR 36.8% permethrin Quart 6666105

Permethrin SFR 36.8%

This is a well-known and popular permethrin, which is even used to soak clothes without doing any harm to humans. The price for 2.35 pounds is slightly superior to that of Talstar but the customer rating is just as high: 4.7 stars out of 5. Most often it is used to get rid of ants, mosquitoes, ticks and fleas, as we’ve mentioned in our earlier reviews. It is still effective against mole crickets as well if you apply it just like Talstar: spray the entire soil with it and use the proper concentration ratio stated in the manual. Be cautious as concentrated permethrin can cause chemical burn if it comes in contact with your skin! It is not recommended for use if you have any cats at home as they can be poisoned.

Price: ~$21.99 Check the current price

As we can see, there is a variety of mole cricket control products. Try using homemade products or nematodes first before moving on to more powerful pesticides.

Mole Cricket Control Products Comparison Chart

Product Type Active Ingredient Price

Dr. Pye's Scanmask 10 Million Live Beneficial Nematodes

Dr. Pye's Scanmask

Biological killer

~$16.59

Bayer Advanced 700288 Complete Insect Killer

Insect Killer for Soil and Turf Granules

Insecticide granules Imidacloprid & cyfluthrin

~$12.99

Southern Ag Carbaryl 5% Dust Sevin

Southern Ag Carbaryl 5% Dust Sevin

organic insecticide dust Sevin (carbaryl)

~$15.98

Delta Dust Multi Use Pest Control Insecticide Dust

Delta Dust Multi Use Pest Control Insecticide Dust

insecticide dust Deltamethrin

~$19.88

Spectracide HG-95830 Triazicide Insect Killer

Spectracide HG-95830

Concentrated killer spray Gamma-cyhalothrin

from ~$10

Talstar Pro 96 ounce

Talstar Pro 96 ounce (3/4 gallon) jug

Concentrated insecticide Bifenthrin

~$41.87

Permethrin SFR 36.8% permethrin Quart

Permethrin SFR 36.8%

Concentrated insecticide Permethrin

~$21.99