Small mounds of soil are scattered on the soil surface. The lawn feels spongy underfoot. Large areas of grass turn brown and die. Mole crickets-greenish gray to brown insects, 1 1/2 inches long, with short front legs and shovel-like feet-prefer bahiagrass and bermudagrass but also feed on St. Augustinegrass, zoysia, and centipedegrass. They damage lawns by tunneling through the top 1 to 2 inches of soil, uprooting plants. Mole crickets also feed on grass roots, weakening the plants. They feed at night and return to their underground burrows during the day.
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.
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