Mole crickets prompt officials to move Florida high school football game

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Mole cricket

DEA / M. GIOVANOLI/De Agostini/Getty Images
File image of mole cricket.

- A bug problem has ruined the football field at a Florida high school, prompting this week’s game to be played elsewhere.

Friday's game at Satellite High School in Brevard County against Eau Gallie High School was moved to Melbourne High School.

Officials said the problems were caused by mole crickets, a common turf grass pest.

The school district said it saw signs of the mole crickets in the spring and they did a preventative treatment.

Over the summer, the school installed new track and sprinklers were shut off.

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Parents in the Touchdown Club, a booster group for the football team, said they expressed concerns about doing that so close to football season.

They said they saw brown spots on the field last month. A turf expert from a golf course came out to look at it and said it's the worst case of mole crickets he had ever seen, parents said.

“My heart breaks, and I feel bad for the senior football players. (They) played in this program for four years and potentially might not have a home game,” said parent Bert Gamin.

The district said by that point, there were adult mole crickets that are very hard to get rid of and more treatments failed. The non-native insects tunnel underground and eat the roots and shoots of the grass. The district said the field was too dangerous for a game, so the game had to be moved. The district has been rolling out new dirt so they can, at some point, try to grow new grass.

Next week, there is another home game. The plan is to play on an all-dirt field, district officials said.

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