I've been getting some small tunneling just beneath the soil surface of my newly planted vegetable garden. I have 3' wide rows and the tunnel mazes are confined to the top of the rows. I've found several seedlings cut off at the base *and* cut off just below the first leaves which leaves a bare stem. Cut worms I think would lay the entire stem down. There may be both cut worms and mole crickets at work here, but seeing the tunnels is leaning me towards researching mole crickets and their treatment. So far, I'm not finding much discussion on forums.
Disclosure... I'm trying to keep toxic chemicals out of my garden, but understand that at some point may need to utilize a pesticide of some sort. I'm looking for non-toxic solutions for now.
Here is some of the best information (University of Florida) that I've found so far: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in102...
ETA: Here is some very good information from the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service that is really good: http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/...
Searching the net, it looks like there is a beneficial nematode that can be used against the crickets. But, it also appears that there are issues with obtaining the nematodes...that, being a living organism, shipping and warehousing conditions are critical to insure you don't receive a bunch of dead nematodes. Also, timing of application is important. It seems that I just missed the early season application (March-April for my area), though I'd be willing to still give them a try if I could find a good viable/live batch of them. Otherwise, late autumn appears to be the next proper time of application.
I've also found Souther AG Mole Cricket Bait
in which the active ingredient is carbaryl (sevin
). I'm not so keen in using this as prescribed, but being a bait I wonder if I put out small, shallow containers of it if the mole crickets would consume it from there. The instructions are to drop spread it (ain't gonna happen here) over the area.
Beneficial parasitic flies and wasps are good, thus my aversion to using carbaryl.
The beneficial nematodes seem to be the most appealing course of action for me. But, am I too late? Does anyone have a good source for purchasing these nematodes? I've also seen mention of a fungus Beauveria bassiana...anybody had experience with this?
The beneficial nematodes and the fungus do harm some "good" insects, so I'm a bit hesitant to use even these. I have a good population of tiger beetle in the garden and don't want to harm these. For now I'm watching, hopefully being the wasp, flies, birds, and maybe even the tiger beetles they'll keep the mole crickets to a minimum. I may try a soapy water drench on some of the sod surrounding the garden to see if it shows an infestation, though currently the grass doesn't seem to be suffering from the crickets.
So, if anybody has information or suggestions or experience with these insects please share. Myself and others can use the information!!!