How harmful are mole crickets really?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:15 pm

Mole crickets are not exactly popular, as they are considered a pest that bites through plant roots. But is this bad reputation true at all?

How harmful are mole crickets really?
The nocturnal mole crickets spend almost their entire lives underground. They feed primarily on worms, snail eggs and other soil organisms. Only when food is scarce do they feed on plant roots

How harmful are mole crickets really?

It is neither particularly pretty nor popular: the dark brown mole cricket (Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa) is considered a pest because it builds underground tunnel systems with its front legs, which have been transformed into small digging shovels, and in the process sometimes bites through the plant roots found in them. The affected plants die or dry out, especially if there is a mole’s nest under them: Tennis- or handball-sized dried-up patches in the lawn indicate a nursery, because biting through all the plant roots warms the soil and thus the nest more, which is beneficial for raising young.

However, the cricket mainly eats various insect larvae such as wireworms, snail eggs, grubs and earthworms. And thus it actually makes itself quite useful again. In addition, the grasshopper is an important food source for its natural enemies such as birds, hedgehogs, moles and shrews, which are largely popular garden guests. So as long as the mole cricket does not get out of hand in the garden, you should come to terms with it.

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  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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