Among some of the most devastating creatures to your landscape are crickets, relatives of the grasshopper. These insects can severely damage grass, trees, flowers, gardens, and crops. VIRIDIS Lawn Care of Salt Lake can help you control these pests so your lawn and gardens can remain attractive and healthy.
Crickets come in different varieties with the most common in central Utah being the Mormon Cricket. While they are not a true cricket, rather a katydid, they are often thought of as such and categorized with other crickets.
The different types of crickets vary greatly in behavior and appearance as well as the amount of damage they cause. Some such as the Mole Cricket, tunnels underground, destroying turf grass roots while most others live above ground feeding on plant life. Unfortunately, the most common – the Mormon Cricket – is also the most destructive to plant life.
Occasionally, swarms of these insects will form, devastating crops and other plant life. They usually cause the most damage in later summer as they need more food and begin their swarming phase. During heavy outbreak years, they will even feed on each other.
Since Mormon Crickets can’t fly, despite having wings, barriers made of smooth material (to prohibit climbing) that are at least 24 inches high can help keep crickets out of areas. Loud music will also push crickets away. Fortunately, crows and gulls as well as other animals such as rodents and coyotes will feed on Mormon Crickets. There are also insecticides that can help control cricket populations. Some insecticides can not only kill the insect that initially consumes the poison but also kill any crickets that feed on it. Be sure to always follow insecticide instructions or hire a professional to insure it is applied correctly and effectively. Also, tilling open areas and raking lawns in the fall to kill the eggs that may have been laid over the summer can help control the population near your property.
While they are difficult to control, VIRIDIS Lawn Care’s professionals are eager to help so you can reap the rewards of your efforts on your landscaping.
In 1848, this type of katydid nearly wiped out the crops planted by Mormon farmers trying to settle in Utah. They’ve been called Mormon Crickets ever since. They prefer grasses and sage brush, but will eat a variety of other plants, including wheat and corn. They can be seen at the openings of forests as well in crop fields. While this species eats plant matter, sometimes it resorts to cannibalism when plant food is scarce.
Adults chirp at regular intervals. Females have a curved ovipositor that looks like a tail, or stinger. It is neither. The ovipositor is a tube that pushes into the dirt, allowing females to deposit eggs just under the soil’s surface. The eggs overwinter and small nymphs emerge in the spring, just when plants are starting to grow.
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