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Mole Cricket

The tawny mole cricket is originally from southern South America and arrived in Florida and Georgia about 1900 spreading north and west. It occurs in all the southeastern states, but not, so far, in Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. It is currently found in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

Tawny mole cricket populations continue to spread north and west. Colder temperatures ultimately will limit the spread of tawny mole crickets to the north. While there is no evidence that they will not spread farther west, arid conditions may hinder them. In drought, mole crickets risk desiccation and seek moister locations or conditions deeper in the soil. They dig to the surface of flooded soil.

Description

The tawny mole cricket is a mole cricket of average appearance which typically does not play dead when captured, as do the West Indian and southern mole crickets. The imitator mole cricket also will not play dead when captured. The tawny mole cricket does not move very rapidly, and its wings are longer than the body.

Damage

The tawny mole cricket is a major pest of vegetable seedlings, turf and pasture grasses. Tawny mole crickets feed largely on plant material, and only to a slight extent on insects and other animals.