Mormon crickets can be devastating to any crop or garden. Even though Mormon crickets prefer native herbaceous perennials (forbs), forage crops, shrubs, and grasses, they will eat almost any plant in their way. Continue reading to learn how to get rid of Mormon crickets from your garden successfully and quickly.
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What Are Mormon Crickets?
Mormon crickets (Anabrus simplex) are giant insects commonly called katydid. Despite their name, they are not true crickets but are more closely related to grasshoppers. Mormon crickets are primarily found in the western United States and parts of Canada.
Mormon crickets measure between 1.5 and 2 inches (3.8 and 5 cm) long and cannot fly. The adult female can lay up to 100 eggs in the summer, and these will hatch the following spring. Mormon crickets undergo a series of eight growth stages (known as instars), with seven as nymphs and one as adults, completing this cycle in 60 to 90 days. The duration may vary depending on different factors, such as temperatures and other environmental conditions.
Mormon crickets get their name from an incident in the 19th century in the western United States, specifically in Utah. Mormon settlers faced a severe locust outbreak, and these insects were mistakenly identified as crickets. Due to the significant impact on crops and agriculture, the local Mormon community became associated with these insects, leading to the name “Mormon crickets.”
The official USDA website shows maps of the different years when the various outbreaks of Mormon crickets are observed.
What Do Mormon Crickets Eat?
Mormon crickets are omnivorous insects but preferentially feed on vegetation, such as grass, leaves, and crops. They also feed on flowers, decaying organic matter, and fruits. Mormon crickets sometimes cannibalize other crickets and consume other dead insects in their path. They are very voracious insects and will devour everything in their path.
How Long Do Mormon Crickets Live?
Mormon crickets have relatively short lifespans. On average, they live for about three to four months. The duration of their life cycle can vary depending on various factors such as temperature, food availability, and environmental conditions. The nymphal stages of Mormon crickets last for approximately 60 to 90 days. In contrast, the adult stage typically lasts a few weeks to a month. During this time, their primary focus is reproduction and ensuring the next generation’s survival.
How to Get Rid of Mormon Crickets
Here are some methods to help control and get rid of Mormon crickets quickly and effectively:
Physical barriers: Create barriers around your property or garden using nets, fences, or screens to prevent Mormon crickets from entering or accessing vulnerable areas. Mormon crickets do not fly. A slippery fence or barrier 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 cm) high will be sufficient to prevent Mormon crickets from entering.
Natural predators: Encourage natural predators of Mormon crickets, such as wild birds, poultry, and lizards, by providing suitable habitats or bird feeders. These predators can help to get rid of Mormon crickets naturally.
Chemical control: In severe infestations, you may consider using insecticides labeled for cricket control. It is essential to follow the instructions on the product label carefully and consider using environmentally friendly and target-specific options. Consult with local pest control experts or agricultural extension services for appropriate recommendations.
Traps and baits: Place sticky traps, or insecticide baits strategically to attract and capture crickets. These sticky traps and insecticide baits are particularly effective for controlling crickets in smaller areas or indoors.
Diatomaceous earth (DE): Use diatomaceous earth to get rid of Mormon crickets. When insects come into contact with diatomaceous earth, it penetrates their exoskeleton. It absorbs their protective waxy coating, causing them to dehydrate and eventually die. I recommend reading our article on how to use diatomaceous earth.
These are some of the methods to get rid of Mormon crickets from your garden and home. Select the method best suited to the number of crickets and the type of plant you want to treat.
Mormon crickets can be a very annoying pest that can quickly ruin any crop or garden. By applying any of the methods mentioned above, you will be able to get rid of Mormon crickets successfully and efficiently. I hope this article will be helpful against Mormon crickets in your garden. I recommend you read our article on how to get rid of ants in a garden bed.