Black Field Cricket
1 min read
Black field cricket is a major pasture pest in regions such as Northland and Auckland, predominantly affecting clay soils that crack in dry summers. These crickets feed on pasture grasses at night and hide in soil cracks during the day. New pastures are particularly vulnerable. Damage appears as bare patches, especially on heavier soils, while lighter soils might require a closer inspection to detect damage. If you suspect cricket activity, you can use a diluted household detergent to bring them out from soil cracks. It's crucial to spot them early as they can rapidly harm grass. For effective control, use maldison-grain baits tailored to the cricket population.
Black field cricket is a serious pasture pest in Northland, Auckland, parts of the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay and Manawatu. It especially likes clay soils prone to cracking in dry summers.
Crickets feed above ground at night and take refuge in cracks in the soil during the day. Crickets feed outwards from the cracks, defoliating and killing pasture grasses. They are selective feeders, preferring grasses but also eating legumes, weeds and seed.
Pastures are more susceptible to damage in their first year.
Black field cricket
On heavier soils, damage shows clearly as bare patches associated with soil cracks. Damage on lighter soils is often harder to see, as seeds and seedlings eaten by crickets are often covered by pasture - but if the bare earth is revealed when the pasture is pushed away by hand, cricket feeding may be seen.
If crickets are suspected but not visible, a weak solution of household detergent in water can be used to flush crickets from cracks in the soil.
The potential for severe long term pasture damage makes early detection very important. Crickets can quickly defoliate and kill older grasses with high grazing pressure on the crown.
Populations greater than 10/m2 are considered economically damaging. At 20/m2 they can consume up to 16 kg DM/ha/day, and populations can reach 100 to 150/m2.
Crickets can be effectively controlled using maldison-grain baits, applied at a rate relative to the population base.