The Underground World of Mole Crickets: Identification and Treatment Strategies

Written by Ian Thompson

Ian holds a Masters in Turf Management from Sydney University, has over 20 years experience working as a golf course Superintendent, turf manager, product formulation and development. We call him our resident Lawn genius.

Mole crickets, scientifically known as Gryllotalpidae spp. and Sapteriscus didactylus, are a fascinating yet often troublesome insect species in Australia, particularly for lawn enthusiasts. These underground dwellers are named for their distinctive mole-like behavior, burrowing through soil and causing damage to lawns and gardens in the process.


How to Identify Mole Crickets

The first sign of mole crickets is generally raised turf from them burrowing through soil eating roots as they go.

These insects typically measure between 1 to 1.5 inches in length, with large, powerful front legs adapted for burrowing. Their bodies are cylindrical and feature a pair of wings that enable them to fly, although they are more commonly found underground. Mole crickets also possess distinctively long antennae, aiding in their navigation through soil.


When it comes to coloration, mole crickets vary. While some species exhibit a brown or grayish hue, others may appear darker. Their overall appearance is robust, and their powerful jaws are designed for feeding on roots and organic matter found beneath the soil surface.

Another later sign that you have mole crickets is the presence of a blue wasp, this Blue Ant Wasp (Diamma bicolour) attacks the mole cricket.


How to Treat Mole Crickets

Controlling mole crickets is best done using a special insectide as they are very good at smelling many insecticides that control them. Fipronil based insecticides such as Monarch work great, simply apply the insecticide to the affected areas, following product instructions carefully.


Cultural controls for Mole Cricket

  • Maintain a healthy lawn with proper irrigation, as excessively dry or waterlogged conditions can deter mole crickets.
  • Regularly aerate the soil to reduce compaction, making it less favourable for mole cricket burrowing.


Can Acelepryn Treat Mole Cricket?

Acelepryn, is a very popular insecticide, known for its effectiveness against a broad spectrum of turf pests. However, while it is efficient against various insects, including grubs and caterpillars, its efficacy against mole crickets is limited. For mole cricket control, it’s advisable to choose insecticides like Monarch specifically formulated for these pests, targeting both nymph and adult stages for comprehensive eradication.

Do Mole Crickets Eat a Lot?

Mole crickets are voracious feeders, primarily subsisting on a diet of plant roots, organic matter, and occasionally small insects. Their strong jaws are adapted for burrowing and feeding on the underground portions of plants. The extent of damage caused by mole crickets depends on factors such as population density, grass species, and environmental conditions. Large populations can result in significant turf damage, making early detection and treatment crucial for effective control.


Are Mole Crickets Black, If Not What Are They?

Mole crickets exhibit varying colorations but are not usually black. If you’re seeing small black crickets in your lawn than it’s likely a black field cricket Teleogryllus commodus they are less damaging to the lawn but may require treatment if they are in large numbers.


In conclusion, understanding mole crickets, their identification, and treatment strategies is pivotal for maintaining a healthy lawn in Australia. These underground insects may pose challenges, but with a proactive and comprehensive approach, homeowners can successfully manage mole cricket populations and preserve the beauty of their lawns. Utilising the right treatments, addressing overall lawn health, and staying informed about pest control methods contribute to a thriving and pest-resistant outdoor space.

You may also like…

How To Prevent Lawn Billbugs

How To Prevent Lawn Billbugs

There’s no better sight for homeowners than a lush, healthy lawn. In fact, a dense, dark, green lawn gives your home...