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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

african mole cricket (Gryllotalpa africana)

Host plants / species affected
Acacia confusa
Allium cepa (onion)
Brassica oleracea var. capitata (cabbage)
Camellia sinensis (tea)
Cola acuminata (cola)
Corchorus (jutes)
Helianthus annuus (sunflower)
Hordeum vulgare (barley)
Megathyrsus maximus (Guinea grass)
Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco)
Oryza sativa (rice)
Panax ginseng (Asiatic ginseng)
Poaceae (grasses)
Populus (poplars)
Solanum tuberosum (potato)
Triticum (wheat)
List of symptoms/signs
Roots  -  external feeding
Seeds  -  external feeding
Stems  -  external feeding
Whole plant  -  wilt
Symptoms
G. africana prefers moist, loose soil, so damage usually occurs in crop fields near moist locations. Damage is greatest immediately after transplanting young seedlings. Mole crickets injure the plants by chewing and severing roots and occasionally stems; they have a highly chitinized armature in the proventricular region of the foregut. Some mole crickets have been observed cutting off plant stems and dragging them into their burrows. Mole crickets attack the roots of plants in seed beds, and burrow around the roots of seedlings, reducing the vigour of the plants.

G. africana adults chewed rice seeds and uprooted seedlings when the soil was loose and moist, particularly when the seeds were sown directly between rows of wheat and barley in Himeji district, Japan (Akino et al., 1956). Damage to Chinese yam appeared when cracks in the soil under and around the yam allowed mole crickets to tunnel through and attack the tuberous roots (Matsuura et al., 1985).
Prevention and control

Cultural Control

Akino et al. (1956) reported that rice seeds sown directly between rows of wheat in late May suffered less damage than those sown earlier. Increasing the seed rate resulted in a reduction in the percentage of seedlings lost to G. africana.

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:


Impact
Chatterjee (1973) reported that G. africana, which is generally regarded as a minor pest, caused appreciable damage to rice in northern districts of West Bengal, India. Shah (1990) reported that nymphs and adults of G. africana damaged rice in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India, during the monsoon season of 1985. G. africana was a serious pest before germination and in the early seedling stages of deep water rice in the Mekong River Delta, Vietnam (Nguyen et al., 1986). A review of the pests of cola species in West Africa showed that G. africana is a major pest of the seedlings (Daramola, 1974). In Mauritius, G. africana causes localized damage but is considered capable of reaching epidemic proportions (Ramlogun, 1971). In Korea, some ginseng fields were abandoned due to heavy damage caused by G. africana immediately after transplanting seedlings. In the island territories of Papua New Guinea, G. africana is a minor pest of rice (Hale and Hale, 1975). Tkach (1979) reported mole crickets destroying up to 30% of tobacco seedlings in nurseries in Moldavia.
Related treatment support
Pest Management Decision Guides
Badii, B. K.; Nuamah, H.; Braimah, H.; CABI, 2016, English language
 
External factsheets
TNAU Agritech Portal Expert System factsheets, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, 2015, English language
PlantVillage disease guide, PlantVillage, English language
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