Mole cricket: a common lawn pest

the mole cricket (better known as scorpio onion) moves away from the natural concept that we can have of plant pest, thinking of small insects that are located in the aerial part of the plant.

Nothing could be further from the truth, it is a cricket-like insect (hence its name) with excellent characteristics for creating galleries (hence the name mole) and which can exceed 5 cm in length and occupy the entire palm of the hand. hand.

At the evolutionary level, the mole cricket is related to insects such as crickets, grasshoppers and locusts. However, this lawn pest has formed its own family, known as Gryllotalpidae.

The mole cricket spends much of its active life in underground environment, being active at night and with few predators considering its size. Its main delicacy is underground roots and tubers, although it is most often found in the cultivation of tussock species, such as grass.


How to identify mole cricket

Mole crickets have slowly become pests that can cause headaches in lawns, feeding on its roots and creating large bald patches on the ground. Despite their size, which can be scary, they only feed on plants and in no way harm animals or people.

His physical appearance makes it very similar to cricket, but with a larger size. Share similar features:

  • Large in size, with an average length of 5 cm.
  • Eyes protruding, shiny and black.
  • grayish brown color
  • Blanket with fine fur, velvet type.
  • Well-developed, shovel-shaped forelegs used to create galleries.

Life cycle

the life cycle of the very simple mole cricket, with the laying of eggs which hatch and form nymphs, visually very similar to adults, but smaller in size.

The adult female mole cricket lays eggs (25 to 60 per clutch) underground. in spring. Once the nymphs hatch, they 40 days from installation, they usually feed you first on the organic matter and small roots they find around them. Mole cricket nymphs mature and become adults in early fall.

Most common in continental and Mediterranean areas is 1 cycle per year. However, in hot and humid environments, 2 cycles per year can occur.

In lawn cultivation, it is easy to identify the problem, as small burrows are seen rising above the surface of the lawn and chlorotic areas, often with bald spots, a result of feeding from its roots by nymphs and adults. .

The mole cricket generally emerges from its winter rest at early springthat is to say when damage to this type of crop is observed.

Crops commonly affected by mole cricket

The main crops affected by the onion scorpion plague are as follows, in order of importance:

  • Grass
  • Potato
  • Beet
  • Garlic and onion
  • Grains like wheat, corn, oats, or beans

fight mole cricket

When their presence becomes a scourge and the damage is visible, it’s time to act. There are different ways to control it. Even so, it is considered a marginal pest that does not cause great damage unless there is an imbalance of other pests.

Control by traps

the homemade traps made with molasses attractant is an environmentally friendly, residue-free way to control the mole cricket population. To do this, a container is placed at ground level, lid uncovered, filling 1/3 of its volume with water and molasses (a ratio of 1/10). If you don’t have molasses, honey may work for you.

Control by phytosanitary products

When eggs hatch in the spring, this is the ideal time to perform this type of treatment, as they are in constant motion and are more vulnerable to spot applications in burrows.

With the elimination of broad-spectrum active ingredients, such as Chlorpyrifos, the use of phytosanitary products in mole cricket is very limited. In traditional garden centres, potassium soap is used in high doses, flooding the galleries they create in the spring with their activity, although their activity on this insect is not known. About the dose, it is recommended 50 ml of potassium soap for 5 liters of water

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