Il grillotalpa

How to prevent an infestation

The grillotalpa is dangerous for crops, as it constantly gnaws, seriously damaging the root system of plants. To protect the crop from damage caused by the grillotalpa it is necessary to use baits based on a poison, methiocarb. The grillotalpa is difficult to spot during the day, as it lives underground and rarely rises to the surface, only at night. He eats continuously, gnawing on everything he encounters along the way, but prefers sweet crops, such as beets and potatoes. It feeds mainly on roots, tubers and insects and digs very deep tunnels. Prevention is the best remedy for grillotalpa infestations. It is necessary to check the soil in the spring months and place the poisoned baits in the evening hours,

What is the grillotalpa

The grillotalpa is known by farmers as the tireless digger of underground tunnels. It belongs to the class of insects, precisely to the Gryllotalpidae family. It is a medium-sized insect and can reach a maximum length of seven centimeters. Despite being equipped with two pairs of wings, it cannot fly. The physical characteristic that distinguishes it is the presence of two fossor-like legs in the front part of the body. These legs are similar to those of moles (hence the name grillotalpa) and are used to dig easily into the ground, allowing a movement backwards and outwards at the same time (right and left side). It has a total of six legs, but only the first two are of the petrified type. The color facilitates it in camouflage with the ground,

Life cycle of the insect

June is the month dedicated to mating. Adult males, to attract females, begin to sing (a song similar to that of crickets). Before mating, the females have the task of digging a hole, called the nuptial chamber, where the eggs will be laid. Following the mating, the females are able to lay up to three hundred eggs inside the nuptial chamber which will hatch after twenty days, starting the evolutionary process of the grillotalpa. The larvae released from the eggs will undergo three mutations to pass to the next stage of nymphs, exactly two in autumn and one in spring. During the following winter the nymphs will turn into adult specimens. The grillotalpa, to protect itself from any pitfalls, is covered by a very hard and resistant shield, called chitinous.

The grillotalpa: Where it lives

The grillotalpa is a nocturnal animal. He spends his life digging long tunnels underground, where he himself lives. It prefers loose and very humid soils and can only be encountered at night, when it comes to the surface in search of prey to eat. It is mainly found in North Africa, Europe, North America and Western Asia. It is ranked among the most harmful insects for plantations, as it continuously digs and eats, never getting tired. Feeding on roots and never getting full, it is capable of destroying entire plantations. It is particularly harmful for those of potatoes, tomatoes, beets and onions. Its passage is identified by the presence of holes in the ground about two centimeters wide. The natural enemies of the grillot mole are hedgehogs, birds and wild cats.

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