Florida Landscaping Blog

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Mole Cricket Host Plants

Though normally thought of as turf and forage grass pests, mole crickets are omnivorous, feeding on animal as well as plant material.

 

Several studies have indicated that when provided with grass or collected from grass-dominated habitats, the southern mole cricket is less damaging than the tawny mole cricket.

 

The southern mole cricket feeds mostly on other insects, whereas tawny mole cricket is principally herbivorous (Matheny 1981, Matheny et al. 1981, Walker and Ngo 1982). The shortwinged mole cricket also damages grasses but due to its limited range the amount of damage generally is not great.

 

Both the tawny and southern mole crickets are associated with tomato and strawberry fields in Florida. Among other vegetable crops reported to be injured are beet, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrot, cauliflower, collard, eggplant, kale, lettuce, onion, pepper, potato, spinach, sweet potato, tomato, and turnip. Other plants injured include chufa, peanut, strawberries, sugar cane, tobacco, and such flowers as coleus, chrysanthemum, and gypsophila. Among the turf grasses, bahiagrass and Bermudagrass are commonly injured by tawny mole cricket, whereas St. Augustinegrass and Bermudagrass are favored by the shortwinged mole cricket. Mole crickets also feed on weeds such as pigweed,

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