Larsolav
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Mysterious root-eating things keeps attacking. Need help!

Hi!

I've come to this forum because I need some help. I recently moved to southern Spain to grow some organic vegetables. Everything seemed to be working out just fine until suddenly one of the broccolis were down. The root was completely gone and the plant was lying on top untouched. Its been around a week now and I've lost one broccoli, five watermelon plants, one squash and one scallion. They attack very randomly from one side of the garden to the other. The only sign of them are some small piles of dirt with a diameter of about 20cm.

Does anyone know what this might be and how to get rid of them?
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dirtpile.jpg
What we found when digging in the pile.
What we found when digging in the pile.

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applestar
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Re: Mysterious root-eating things keeps attacking. Need help

I don't know the organic control for them first hand, but I think this is a mole cricket?
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Taiji
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Re: Mysterious root-eating things keeps attacking. Need help

If my math is right, 20 cm. is approximately 8 inches. The pile looks a lot like the mounds that gophers make around here though around here the mounds are usually a bit bigger. They make tunnels and have to spew the dirt out somewhere. They do eat roots underground. Sometimes if you watch long enough, you can see the plant move and get pulled underground!

I trap them with nasty traps. I hate to do it but it's them or the garden. My climate here may be somewhat similar to Southern Spain, not sure. Talk to some other gardeners there and see if gophers are a problem.

Taiji
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Re: Mysterious root-eating things keeps attacking. Need help

This is interesting. Just out of curiosity, I looked this up. If you can believe this article, gophers are endemic to North America. Not found in Spain then. But maybe there is something similar in Spain.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gopher

We do have some small ground squirrels here that make mounds similar to your mounds, but they usually leave the hole open. Gophers hate the light and close the hole. So now, I don't know, sorry! :(

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Mysterious root-eating things keeps attacking. Need help

No, look at the second picture. I think applestar was right, mole cricket...

Wiki: Mole crickets are cylindrical-bodied insects about 3–5 centimetres (1.2–2.0 in) long, with small eyes and shovel-like forelimbs highly developed for burrowing. ... Mole crickets have three life stages, eggs, nymphs and adults. Most of their life in these stages is spent underground but adults have wings and disperse in the breeding season. They vary in their diet; some species are vegetarian, mainly feeding on roots, others are omnivores, including worms and grubs in their diet. ... The main damage done by mole crickets is as a result of their burrowing activities. As they tunnel through the top few centimetres of soil they push the ground up in little ridges, increasing evaporation of surface moisture, disturbing germinating seeds and damaging the delicate young roots of seedlings. They are also injurious to turf- and pasture-grasses as they feed on the roots of the grasses, leaving the plants prone to drying out

Organic control: Beneficial nematodes may be effective against them, specifically the variety Steinernema Carpocapse Nematodes (SC). These are best applied in the spring. See also https://homeguides.sfgate.com/homemade-p ... 32816.html
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Taiji
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Re: Mysterious root-eating things keeps attacking. Need help

Oh, well I guess that could be. I was surprised at the large size of the mound of earth. But, I guess an industrious mole cricket or several would be capable of it. I've never heard of them til now.

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