Among the many pests that can infest our garden or vegetable garden, the grillotalpa is the one that can be decidedly the most harmful to our plants or crops. Let’s see together how to recognize it, the damage it causes and how to fight it with natural remedies.
The grillotalpa (Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa Linnaeus) is an orthopteran insect belonging to the Grillotalpid family, ranging in length from four to five centimeters.
This parasite is very common and is present in Europe, Western Asia, North Africa and America.
How To Recognize The Grillotalpa?
It has a very particular appearance so it can be easily detected compared to all other pests.
The grillotalpa has a large elongated body, fawn-brown in color and covered by a velvety down, provided with robust forelimbs which have adapted for digging.
Its name comes from its particular appearance and conformation and from its limbs, changed in the time and suitable for digging long tunnels.
It has wings and is able to fly, therefore able to move quickly and infest gardens, nurseries and orchards.
Grillotalpa And The Damage It Causes
This parasite lives in the ground and feeds on virtually all vegetables and plant roots, very voracious is capable of destroying a lawn or flowerbed or vegetable garden in little.
The grillotalpa digs tunnels in the ground in order to reach the roots or tubers of the vegetable garden of which it is greedy.
In particular, it attacks the roots of plants as well as feeds on them, cuts them to dig its long tunnels in this way suffer the effects of detachment from the ground and wither quickly drying.
Why Is The Grillotalpa So Harmful?
The grillotalpa can be very harmful to crops and gardens, feeding on a wide range of plants and tubers.
In addition to its voracity and the ability to move quickly, is a very prolific insect in fact the female of this species is able to lay hundreds of larvae in a short time.
It lives most of the day under the ground, going out only during the night for short periods, it prefers the soft and humid soils, especially the peaty and rich of humus ones.
Although the grillotalpa also feeds on other insects that are harmful to our crops for the damage it causes, it is feared by all farmers and is considered, with good reason, one of the most harmful parasites.
How Long Does The Grillotalpa Live?
The life cycle of the grillotalpa is two years, and after the laying of the eggs, only about twenty days will pass for the hatching, the newborns will remain in their den until the second moult, in autumn, after which they will go down more deeply to spend the winter.
In spring, they come out from their dens, passing to the status of nymphs, the adult appears in summer and overwinter a second time, they are among the most long-lived insects.
Grillotalpa And Natural Remedies To Fight It
Although there are various natural remedies for combating the grillotalpa, we must never underestimate the infestation of this parasite, especially when it comes to large crops, since it can cause considerable economic damage as a result of the destruction of an entire harvest.
Therefore, before taking any action, it is sometimes better to consult an expert in the field who will be able to advise you in a proper way on the best treatment for your crops.
As with all pest control, the speed with which remedies are identified and used is the most important thing to keep in mind.
First of all it is certainly to encourage the spread of animals antagonistic to the grillotalpa or predators of the same.
The grillotalpa has several natural enemies:
- small mammals, such as shrew, hedgehog and mole;
- birds, such as the starling, hoopoe and blackbird.
In addition to encouraging the spread of natural predators of this parasite, traps can also be built to try to stem or at least contain the infestation.
Traps for the Grillotalpa
Building a rudimentary trap for this parasite is quite simple and cheap.
Just use plastic bottles, once cut the top of the bottle will be buried leaving the top open.
Let’s put a little water and honey or sugar in the bottle with a few pieces of vegetables to attract the parasite into the trap.
The viscous solution thus created and the slippery wall of the bottle will make it difficult for the grillotalpa to get out of the trap.
Of course, it all depends on the level of infestation, the type of remedy to take to save our garden or flowering meadow from this parasite.
However, most of the time these natural remedies are not enough to eradicate this dangerous parasite, in this case there are chemical remedies from traps and baits to different types of insecticides.
Grillotalpa, How to Eliminate it
When the level of infestation is very high you can also act, as we mentioned before, using chemicals, baits or insecticides. For the latter, always seek advice from an expert in the field, especially if they are vegetables, since they will then be consumed, in addition to the economic damage due to loss of the crop for incorrect treatment.