Thursday, February 11, 2010

Plague of Crickets

I have fielded several calls recently regarding a ‘plague’ of crickets in Northland.

Black field crickets are normally a problem only in Northland, Auckland, parts of Taranaki, and Hawke’s Bay. Eggs are laid in moist soil from February to May, and nymphs (immature adults) emerge from November to January. Adults appear from February and live for two or three months. They inhabit cracks in the soil and eat surrounding crowns of grasses, which usually die. During long drought periods the growing crowns of grasses are attacked; this often kills the plants and leaves the soil open to weed invasion.

Kiwicare Lawngard Prills will kill the insects in the soil as eggs and nymphs and adults the hide in cracks in the ground will also be killed on contact with the insecticide. A bait can be made by mixing Maldison Insect Control with grain (wheat, barley or crushed maize) at the rate of 12.5g to 1kg grain and spread on 500-1000m2 depending on extent of infestation. This should applied around February when the adults appear.

What is an insect's favourite game?
Cricket.

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