Monday, October 5, 2009

Mole Crickets in Iowa?

Do we get mole crickets in Iowa? The answer is clearly yes, although they are rare. The pictures above come from Kevin Vos and Alex Olsen at Bos Landen in Pella. They were taken on Sept. 28, 2009 on the 18th green. They were actually doing some damage to the green.
Damage is rare. I have seen it at Ankeney country club and a few other places around Iowa over the past 30 years. Finding mole crickets is not as rare. We sometimes see them at the research station and many superintendents have reported them over the years.
Usually chemical is not necessary. If it is a few, you can step on them or collect in a bottle. They are very difficult to treat in Florida and other areas of the South, because they occur in very high populations and are protected from chemicals by being under ground much of the time. Pretty much any of our standard insecticides will kill them, if you get them on the insect.
Marcus tells me that when he was at Augusta, they would mix up soapy water and pore it in the holes. They mole crickets would come to the surface and they could then remove them.
If any one else is seeing them, let me know.


Anonymous said...

I recently played in a Superintendent outing @ Pleasant Valley in Iowa City and spotted a Mole Cricket crawling across the 1st green there. My playing partner proceeded to smash it with his putter so I have no evidence, sorry. Could not see any damage. 1st one I've seen in Iowa.

Chris Steffen
Tipton Country Club

Anonymous said...

We found one on a green yesterday afternoon. First one we have seen at Des Moines Golf.

Anonymous said...

I have seen a couple in Illinois. First my dad collected one at Angus Links Golf Course in Windsor IL. I still have that speciman. The second was at the SIU-Carbondale turfgrass plots. There is a turfgrass entomology book that describes a northern species and shows how to distinguish them. I believe the key features are in the front digging legs (sorry I know it isn't the correct terminology).

Keith Rincker
Chicago District Golf Association

Anonymous said...

We have had them for the past three years at Muscatine Municipal Golf Course. I have used some insecticides to try and get rid of them but the soapy water in the hole works the best. I mix up a pump up sprayer with soapy water and spray it in the holes and they come crawling right out. I have probably caught 30 to 40 over the last three years.

Randy Moeller
Muscatine Municipal Golf Course

JGoughnour said...

When I was at Rolling Hills in Norwalk we commonly saw them on the 7th green by the pond. We were troubleshooting some sprinkler heads and had left the guts out overnight. The mole cricket fell in the sprinkler and couldn't get out. Pretty fascinating too. They're fast and really strong, They can pry your fingers apart if you let them. Pencil size runs on the green, you could call it damage but it wasn't to severe.
Raccoon Valley Golf Course