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Pest Information

Tawny mole cricket

Tawny mole cricket

  • Latin Name: Scapteriscus vicinus
  • Common Name: Tawny mole cricket
  • Other Names: Puerto Rican mole cricket

Pest Details

Tawny mole cricket
Tawny mole cricket
Tawny mole cricket


Native to Puerto Rico and the West Indies, but now found commonly in the southeastern United States.


The tawny mole cricket is a common species in the southeastern U.S. It is an extremely destructive mole cricket in landscape turf, where they spend nearly all their time within the soil digging tunnels and feeding on the roots of turf and landscape plants. Dry soils may be preferred. They are able to fly and will be attracted to lights at night. Eggs are deposited in a chamber in the soil, and begin hatching in late spring. A life cycle is completed in about 1 year.


Mole crickets are so named not only because of their burrowing, subterranean existence, but also because of the widely expanded front legs and claws that are used for digging. They are about 1 inch in length or slightly longer, with the prothorax enlarged and bell-shaped, and with an elongate and cylindrical abdomen. Their wings are well developed but the flight wings are held beneath a short pair of forewings when not in use. The color is usually a tan to light brownish-yellow.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

Control is most effective with insecticides applied directly to the infested turf or soils, with multiple applications throughout the year necessary. Early spring applications will help kill overwintering adults, but will not affect the overwintering eggs that will hatch a few months later. A second application is recommended in early summer. Monitor turf using soapy water poured over the turf to observe crickets emerging from the soil. Both spray and granular formulations are effective.

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