The shorttailed cricket, Anurogryllus arboreus, is similar to the field cricket except they possess a short ovipositor, from which their common name derives. They are light brown with a body length of about 3/4 inch. They shed their hindwings soon after becoming adults and never fly. Nymphs are smaller than adults, light brown, and lack wings.
Shorttailed crickets overwinter as nymphs in burrows in the soil. After several molts in early spring, they reach the adult stage. Mated females begin to lay eggs in late spring or early summer. Hatching takes place in a multi-chambered burrow constructed by the adult. For a short period of time, both eggs and nymphs may be found in the burrow. Between the fourth and sixth instars, nymphs leave the parent burrows and construct burrows of their own. At first the burrows are small, but as the crickets mature the burrows are enlarged and may reach depths of 12 to 20 inches. Only one cricket is found per burrow except when certain burrows contain eggs and nymphs. There is one generation per year.
These crickets feed on grasses, weeds, and pine seedlings. The feeding damage they cause in turfgrass is apparently negligible.
In turf, burrows constructed by nymphs and adults result in unsightly mounds of small soil pellets, which may smother the surrounding grass. In Oklahoma, they are seldom noticed until the maturing nymphs begin to construct new burrows in late summer. This usually occurs in August and activity continues through October and, in some years, through most of November. The burrows are rebuilt each time they are washed away by fall rains.
Inspection & Control
Look for mounds of small soil pellets or soil deposits similar to those constructed by crayfish. Treatment provides only partial control and is seldom needed unless large numbers of mounds are encountered. If treatment is attempted, chemicals suggested for controlling white grubs could be used. Mounds can be periodically knocked down by raking the turf.