Are you tired of mole crickets ruining your lawn or garden?
These pesky insects can cause significant damage to your plants and grass, leaving unsightly brown patches.
While there are many chemical pesticides available on the market, they can be harmful to both humans and beneficial insects.
That’s where neem oil comes in. This natural pesticide is derived from the neem tree and has been used for centuries in Southeast Asia for its insecticidal properties.
But will neem oil actually kill mole crickets?
In this article, we’ll explore the effectiveness of neem oil as a mole cricket killer and provide tips on how to use it safely and effectively.
Will Neem Oil Kill Mole Crickets?
The answer is yes, neem oil can effectively kill mole crickets. Neem oil works by breaking down the protective exoskeleton of the insect, disrupting normal membrane functions and causing the insect to dry out and die.
Neem oil also has repellent properties, which means it can prevent mole crickets from returning to your lawn or garden. This makes it a great natural solution for those who want to avoid using harmful chemicals.
To use neem oil as a mole cricket killer, you can make a natural repellent by mixing 3 tablespoons of cold-pressed neem oil with 2 gallons of water. Apply the solution evenly across your lawn in areas where you have identified mole cricket activity.
It’s important to note that neem oil should not be used on drought-stressed plants or new transplants. Additionally, it should not be sprayed on plants while they are exposed to full sun, as this can cause phototoxicity and damage to the leaves and flowers.
Understanding Mole Crickets And Their Damage
Mole crickets are a type of insect that can cause significant damage to lawns and gardens. They are most active during the spring and summer months and can cause extensive damage to turfgrass by tunneling through the soil and feeding on the roots.
Mole crickets have large, powerful front legs that are adapted for digging and burrowing through the soil. They are most active at night and can often be heard chirping in the evenings.
The damage caused by mole crickets can be severe, resulting in yellowing or browning of the grass, thinning of the lawn, and even death of the turfgrass. In addition to their feeding habits, mole crickets also create unsightly mounds of soil on the surface of the lawn, which can make it difficult to mow and maintain.
To determine if you have a mole cricket infestation, you can perform a soapy water drench test. Mix 1-2 fluid ounces of liquid dish soap in a gallon of water and pour it onto a 2 square foot area where mole crickets are suspected to be present. If mole crickets are present, they will come to the surface quickly, aiding in identification of the species and life stage.
Once you have identified a mole cricket infestation, it’s important to take action to control their population before they cause significant damage to your lawn or garden. Neem oil is a natural and effective solution for killing and repelling mole crickets without harming beneficial insects like bees, butterflies, and ladybugs.
However, it’s important to note that neem oil is not a 100% control solution for mole crickets. A management solution is necessary, as weather and soil conditions constantly change, affecting mole cricket activity and chemical efficacy. Biological control organisms are highly host-specific and seek to establish population equilibriums rather than bombard an environment with chemicals that control or affect every insect contacted.
What Is Neem Oil And How Does It Work?
Neem oil is a natural pesticide derived from the seeds of the neem tree, which is native to Asia and Africa. It has been used for centuries in Southeast Asia as an insecticide, to clean teeth, treat boils, and as a diuretic.
The active ingredient in neem oil is called azadirachtin, which accounts for over 90% of its effectiveness as an insecticide. Unlike synthetic pesticides, neem oil does not act as a nerve or stomach poison. Instead, it slowly alters the behavior of insects that feed on it.
When insects consume neem-coated leaves, they experience a sense of nausea that prevents them from returning for more. Neem oil also inhibits the enzyme responsible for making insects molt from larvae into adults, which can prevent them from reaching sexual maturity.
Female insects exposed to neem oil often stop laying eggs, and the eggs that do hatch may produce deformed larvae. Adult insects that eat neem become sterile and lose their hormones for mating, which means they cannot reproduce.
In addition to its insecticidal properties, neem oil also has repellent properties that can prevent pests like mole crickets from returning to your lawn or garden. By breaking down the protective exoskeleton of pests like mole crickets, neem oil can effectively kill them and prevent further infestations.
How To Use Neem Oil To Control Mole Crickets
If you’re dealing with a mole cricket infestation in your lawn or garden, neem oil can be an effective natural solution. Here’s how to use neem oil to control mole crickets:
1. Mix 3 tablespoons of cold-pressed neem oil with 2 gallons of water in a watering can or tank sprayer.
2. Water your lawn the day before applying the neem oil solution.
3. Apply the neem oil solution evenly across your lawn in areas where you have identified mole cricket activity. It’s best to apply neem oil at dusk or dawn to avoid harming foraging bumblebees.
4. Repeat the application at least once a week in the summer until signs of mole cricket damage go away.
It’s important to avoid using neem oil on drought-stressed plants or new transplants, as well as plants exposed to full sun. Neem oil can cause phototoxicity and damage to the leaves and flowers of some plants, so it’s best to test it on a few leaves and wait a day before applying it more widely.
Neem oil is a safe and natural way to control mole crickets without harming beneficial insects like bees, butterflies, and ladybugs. By using neem oil to kill and repel mole crickets, you can protect your lawn and garden from these destructive pests without resorting to harmful chemicals.
Safety Precautions When Using Neem Oil As A Pesticide
While neem oil is a natural and safe alternative to synthetic pesticides, it’s important to follow some safety precautions when using it as a pesticide.
Firstly, avoid using neem oil on delicate plants such as bleeding heart, Crown of Thorns, Gardenia, Horse Chestnut, Jade Plant, Japanese Maple, Lantana, Mountain Ash, and Sweetpeas. These plants cannot tolerate neem oil under any conditions and may suffer damage or even die.
Secondly, neem oil should not be sprayed on new transplants or recently rooted cuttings. It’s also important to avoid spraying neem oil on plants while they are exposed to full sun as this can cause phototoxicity and damage to the leaves and flowers.
Thirdly, it’s best to use neem oil early in the morning or in the evening hours when the air temperature is cooler. Avoid using neem oil soap with the air temperature is much above 85F.
Lastly, be sure to mix neem oil properly and use it in small batches. Adding too much neem oil to your mixture may cause leaves to burn if they are in direct, harsh sunlight most of the day. Make small batches of neem spray the same day you intend to use it, or your mixture will become gloppy over time.
By following these safety precautions, you can effectively use neem oil as a pesticide without harming your plants or beneficial insects such as ladybugs, bees, and butterflies in your lawn or garden.
Other Natural Methods For Controlling Mole Crickets.
If you prefer a fully natural and non-toxic method of getting rid of mole crickets, there are a few other options available to you. One effective method is to introduce beneficial nematodes into your soil. These parasites naturally infect mole crickets with bacteria, which then eat the cricket from the inside out. However, it’s important to note that this method is more effective at killing adult mole crickets than nymphs, and it may take some time to see results.
Another natural method for controlling mole crickets is to plant natural deterrents in your lawn or garden. Marigolds and chrysanthemums are both known to repel mole crickets and can be planted around the perimeter of your lawn or garden to keep them away.
You can also create a DIY trap for mole crickets using a small container filled with nine parts water to one part molasses and covered with canola oil. Sink the container into the soil so that the rim rests at soil level. Mole crickets that approach under the cover of darkness will fall into the mixture and drown.
It’s important to remember that when using natural methods for controlling mole crickets, it may take longer to see results than when using chemical pesticides. However, these methods are safer for both humans and beneficial insects in your lawn or garden.