European Crane Fly
A new pest in Ontario (1998), the larvae eats lawns primarily in spring. Larvae hatch in fall and over winter as an ugly caterpillar. In spring they aggressively feed until mid-summer. They pupate into a winged fly which most closely resembles a large male mosquito.
There are no legal products for control of European crane fly larvae. However, we do know that “BT” has some effect. We treat for European crane fly in the spring of the year and the product must be watered into the soil.
European crane fly adults look like large male mosquitoes. They fly up out of the lawns in the fall. This is when they mate and lay eggs. Their larvae, called a leatherjacket, is a ugly looking grey green maggot that is about 1” long. Leatherjackets feed on the roots of grass plants and cause some damage in the fall. Mainly the bulk of their damage is in the spring. Spots appear in lawns that would otherwise be healthy. Holes about the diameter of a pencil may be seen. Birds may peck for these larvae. During excessive periods of rain, Leatherjackets may exit the lawn and look for drier spots. These maggots can collect en masse in drains and along road edges. Leather jackets can’t handle the water.
Peerless Turfcare tends to treat for leatherjackets in the spring. We do this as timing of all the egg hatch is very hard to predict in fall. By spring we know all the eggs have hatched and the maggots are aggressively feeding on your lawn. If they are feeding they can be killed.
If you think you have European crane fly issues with your lawn, utilize the experts at Peerless Turfcare, to identify and treat your lawn.