Mole crickets are cylindrical-bodied insects about 3-5cm long as adults, with small eyes and shovel-like fore limbs highly developed for burrowing. They are present in many parts of the world and some of the species are considered serious sub-surface pest in turf. Most damages were caused by tunnelling and resulted to loss of turf but some species of Mole crickets feed on turf plant and roots.
- Often found in golf greens, tees and fairways and othermanaged turf area, especially in wet & sandy area.
- They usually come to the surface evenings and at night, and is attracted to light sources.
Life Cycle and Development Stage
- Incomplete metamorphosis with egg, nymph and adult. Nymphs resemble adults but do not have developed wings.
- Depending on species and weather conditions, life cycle may last from 1- 3 years and some species will have more than 1 generation per year.
Deposit in chamber 5-30 cm below soil surface. Each cluster 25-60 eggs, and hatch between 10 to 40 days.
Hatchlings are whitish initially but turn dark within 24 hours. They seldom cause any damage to turf.
Mole crickets are causing major damages to turf as they have peculiar enlarged forelegs that are used for digging in the soil.
- Common species of Mole crickets can be identified by examining the claws (dactyls) on the front leg.
- Color patterns on the protonum are also useful in separating species.
- Disruption in playing surface through tunnelling and often lead to desiccated turf by severing roots and uprooting the grass.
- Species like Tawny, Southern, Oriental and Short-winged are more damaging to turf as they feed on turf plants and roots while other species feed predominately on insects, earthworms, and other invertebrates.
For even more information about dealing with mole crickets on golf courses, we recommend you watch the video below which is specifically for greenkeepers in the Middle East.