Species category: Crickets and Grasshoppers
Latin Name: Gryllotalpa spp. / Scapteriscus didactylus
What are Mole Crickets?
Mole Cricket Description:The Mole Cricket is a large insect that will typically reach 40-50mm in length during adulthood. Unlike typical crickets, it does not feature the elongated hind legs of most species. This pest burrows in soil and so its front legs are adapted to give it extra strength.
It has a long, multi-segmented body and is dark brown in colour with a silky sheen; its underside has a much paler, yellow colour.Mole Cricket Behaviour:
Adults and older nymphs over-winter in the soil. Eggs are laid in early spring with hatching following shortly afterwards. Each female lays between 100 and 200 eggs into a chamber within the soil.
Mole crickets are able to produce up to 10 clutches of eggs with over 450 eggs in each clutch. A female will stay with her eggs and protect them until they hatch. Nymphs mature during the summer and create maximum damage in late summer and early autumn.
During mating the males uniquely use the burrow to amplify their mating song and attract the female, this amplification also allows them to test the moisture levels in the hole.
Widespread distribution across Europe and now America, it is also common in Australia
Mole crickets burrow deep into the soil to lay their eggs, creating networks of tunnels underground. They prefer a moisture-rich soil and struggle in arid ground. They are commonly found on irrigated land or swampy grounds.
Risks associated with Mole Crickets:
This pest causes considerable damage by uplifting the root systems of turf and agricultural crops. It can create patchy and uneven playing fields by making a series of holes and tunnel structures under the surface. It also feeds on the crops, damaging them and in some cases, killing them off.