common name: Mole Cricket, Southern Mole Cricket<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
scientific name: Order Orthoptera, family Gryllotalpidae, Scapteriscus acletus
size: 1" to 1 1/4"
identification: Adults have large eyes. Grayish with mottled white spots on top of the area behind the head. Velvety bodies; broad, spadelike front legs adapted for digging.
biology and life cycle: Incomplete metamorphosis. Adults have wings.
habitat: Loose sandy soils such as golf course greens and vegetable gardens.
feeding habits: Feed on soil insects.
economic importance: Their tunneling damages bermudagrasses, ornamentals, and vegetables. In some case the damage is enough to cause the grass to die.
natural control: Insectivorous animals and beneficial nematodes.
organic control: Beneficial nematodes. Frequent thin applications of compost or sprayings of compost tea.
insight: There are other species of mole crickets that are grass feeders. The southern mole cricket is the only one known to be causing problems in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Texas. These problems are caused while the cricket is actually doing some good in feeding on troublesome soil insects.