Problem: Mole Crickets
(Scapteriscus and Gryllotalpa species) Several species of mole crickets attack lawns. They prefer bahia- and bermudagrass but also feed on St. Augustinegrass, zoysiagrass, and centipedegrass. They damage lawns by tunneling through the top 1 to 2 inches of soil, loosening it and uprooting plants so that the plants dry out. Mole crickets also feed on grass roots, weakening the plants. They feed at night and may tunnel as many as 10 to 20 feet per night. In the daytime, they return to their underground burrows. Adults migrate from their burrows to new areas twice a year, from March to July and again from November to December.
To determine if the lawn is infested with mole crickets, make a solution of 1 ounce of liquid dishwashing detergent in 2 gallons of water. Drench 4 square feet of turf with the mixture. Mole crickets will come to the surface within 3 minutes. Keep the lawn watered to encourage new root growth.