Mole crickets are the number one pest of turf in southern Alabama and Georgia, throughout Florida, and are spreading quickly along the Gulf Coastal region and Eastern Seaboard. (Picture of 4 main molecrickets that are pests to lawns in the Southeastern United States.) Their damage appears as brown spongy areas within normal green grass. Upon inspection you will notice the grass has been eaten just below the surface, separating the plant from its roots. Mole crickets are especially fond of Bermuda and centipede grass, but have also been found in St. Augustine lawns in the Florida Panhandle and along the Alabama coast.
Mole Cricket Adults and Nymphs
Adult mole crickets are plump, winged and 1 to 1.25 inches long. They are seldom seen, because, like moles, they stay underground most of the time.
They fly and mate twice a year, spring and fall. At this time you will find their exit holes of an inch or more. Mole cricket nymphs are wingless but look like small adults. The nymphs can become very numerous and cause great damage to your grass during the warm summer months.
Control methods aimed at eliminating mole cricket nymphs yield the best results, simply because they easier to kill than adults.
Mole Cricket Control
Mole crickets have become resistant to Diazinon, Dursban, Sevin (Carbaryl), and Malathion. Two products that still work well are Permethrin SFR and Talstar.
Proper timing of pesticide application is a must.
Without proper timing, most pesticide applications will fail.
Treating With Talstar For Mole Crickets
Talstar is a synthetic pyrethroid that is available in both granular and liquid concentrate forms. When label instructions are followed, it is very safe towards non-target animals such as birds, reptiles and mammals. Talstar lasts much longer than other insecticides. We have had many reported cases of Talstar controlling mole crickets for up to two months, ants and fire ants for three months!
Only 1 or 2 applications are needed each year. No special site preparation is needed when treating for mole crickets with Talstar. This odorless product is very effective in controlling ants, fleas, chinch bugs and other turf and ornamental pests.
Using Talstar Granules For Mole Cricket and Chinch Bug Control
A 25lb. bag of Talstar PL treat up to 12,000 square feet. Talstar granules are best applied through a Granule Spreader or hand seeder. The granules are tiny enough to fall between blades of turf grass (out of sight from birds and pets), penetrating to the ground or thatch area where it belongs. Because of the sand pebble sized granules, regular drop spreaders and rotary spreaders that are pushed or pulled do not give the precise coverage necessary.
Talstar EZ (with larger particle size) is also available. Each 25 Lb. bag will cover the same area as Talstar PL.
Using Talstar Liquid Concentrate For Mole Cricket Control and Chinch Bug Control
A pint of Talstar liquid concentrate treat 16,000 to 20,000 square feet, when spraying for mole crickets and chinch bugs This liquid concentrate is available in pint, quart and gallon containers. BEST BUY: Bifen TI 3/4 Gal. container.
Bifen IT contains same active ingredient as Talstar, at same strength. Bifen IT 3/4 gallon container costs far less than other brands or sizes of Bifenthrin insecticides.
No special preparation of the lawn is necessary. Simply apply Talstar or Bifen IT concentrate at the rate of 1 ounce per thousand square feet of turf, using your hose end sprayer. The label rate for killing ants with Bifenthrin liquid is only 1/2 ounce per thousand square feet. We have seen this product control ants for three months, at the rate of only 1/4 ounce per thousand square feet!