Several bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) pastures in south Florida have been destroyed by non indigenous mole crickets (Orthopthera: Gryllotalpedae: Scapteriscus spp.). 'Pitfall' traps were installed on damaged pastures in July 1997 and weekly numbers of trapped mole crickets were recorded through December 2000 and used to develop mole cricket population histories. The mole cricket nematode (Steinernema scapterisci) was applied in strips to cover 1/8, 1/4, and 'Λ the area of different pastures in May and September 2000, and in March and April 2001 to determine the best procedures and times for using the nematode. An exponential curve (Gaussian, 3 Parameter) best described the weekly incidence of immature (nymphs and juveniles) mole crickets in bahiagrass pasture. Mole cricket eggs usually begin to hatch in May and the number of trapped nymphs reached a peak (average = 23 nymphs/week) in July and then dropped sharply. Preliminary data showed a reduction in peak incidence of immature mole crickets after applying the nematodes in experimental plots, regardless of strip treatment. Percentage of trapped mole crickets that were infected with nematodes ranged from 86% for the Vi area treatment to 41% for the control on 4 April 2001 sample date. These levels of infection clearly indicate that the nematode has become established across entire pasture and is reproducing and killing mole crickets.


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