The Q&A Archives: Mysterious Begonia Pests

Question: I recently planted geraniums and gomphrena in a raised bed, surrounded by wax begonias (brown leaved, red variety).

After the second day they were planted, I discovered two of the begonias were apparently eaten off at the ground level. As I moved the straw mulch back from the plant, dozens of small crickets (or what looked like crickets) jumped from the mulch. The damage looks like that caused by slugs no slugs were present even in traps I put out.

Are crickets known to eat newly planted annuals? What about mole crickets?

Answer: Crickets do eat plant parts. I suspect they are the culprit you are looking for. I am not aware of an organic control for crickets. I would suggest you pull the mulch back away from the plants as it is obviously harboring the pests. This may be enough to get your begonias through without the need for spraying a pesticide.

Mole crickets are primarily feeders on the roots of turfgrass. They are very different in appearance from other crickets. They sort of remind me of a stocky, long cricket with lobster-like front claws. I don't think they are your culprit.

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