Bull Creek and Leeming gardens under attack by mole crickets


Bill Underwood is surrounded by dead patches on his lawn caused by mole crickets.
Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au   d469714
According to the WA Museum, mole crickets were not known to occur in WA prior to the 1990s. They differ from true crickets in that their fore legs are modified for burrowing and they spend much of their time just beneath the surface of the ground. Males characteristically sing around dusk and sound similar to frogs.
Bill Underwood is surrounded by dead patches on his lawn caused by mole crickets. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au d469714 According to the WA Museum, mole crickets were not known to occur in WA prior to the 1990s. They differ from true crickets in that their fore legs are modified for burrowing and they spend much of their time just beneath the surface of the ground. Males characteristically sing around dusk and sound similar to frogs.

LAWNS and gardens in Bull Creek and Leeming are coming under siege from an infestation of mole crickets, according to concerned residents.

Bill Underwood first noticed what he thought was the sound of frogs croaking each evening after sunset around six months ago.

Not long after, plants and patches of lawn throughout the suburbs began dying.

Another Bull Creek resident, Ian Morris, said one of his elderly neighbours was the first to discover a mole cricket in his flowerbed a few weeks ago.

“Intensive internet research indicated that the frog-like noise is from the male as a mating call at sundown – and for every male there can be 40 females,” Mr Morris said.

“When you walk around our area around 6.15pm you hear them everywhere and it is showing in the quality of the lawns.

“Friends in Leeming say they have similar noise and problems.”

Mr Underwood said he was shocked by the pest’s appearance the first time he discovered a dead one on his driveway.

“When I first saw one I thought it was a prehistoric bloody monster,” Mr Underwood said.

“I transferred some plants in the garden the other day and found some fat white grubs, which are their larvae.”

Both Mr Underwood and Mr Morris have had some success exterminating the mole crickets using Baythroid, but warned that surrounding homeowners would also need to spray to eradicate the pests completely.

“You can get Baythroid and it recommends treating a dampened lawn at sundown by mixing the chemical in a watering can rather than mist spray,” Mr Morris said.

“That has worked for me and the neighbours who have used it but I suspect it will need doing again to kill off larvae that have hatched.”

“I would like to see everyone spray so that we can get rid of them and go back to normal,” Mr Underwood said.

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