The European Crane Fly, or the “Mosquito Eater” as it is commonly called, has become one of the most common and destructive pests in the Pacific Northwest. Contrary to its name, the European Crane Fly does not eat mosquitos. Crane Fly larvae actually feed on grass roots, and in large enough numbers they can completely devastate your lawn. Here are some helpful tips to prevent these larvae from infesting your lawn.
Crane Fly larvae hatch in the fall, feed on the roots of turf grass and then go underground in order to survive the winter. When spring rolls around, they move back up and begin feeding on grass again. Newly planted grass is more susceptible to the larvae, as the root systems are not fully developed. A fully developed lawn can sustain a considerable amount of larvae. However, if the numbers swell to more than about 25 per square foot, any lawn, no matter how healthy, is going to be in serious trouble. If you see dead patches of grass in your lawn in the early fall and spring, it could mean you have an infestation. If you have healthy turf grass and the infestation isn’t too severe then your lawn will probably recover on its own. If that’s not the case, you may want to use chemical products to kill the larvae. Early to mid-April is the best time to apply any chemical products, as that is when the larvae are returning to the surface to feed. If you don’t want to use chemicals, you can try using nematodes. Beneficial nematodes are tiny worms that attack Crane Fly larvae. The temperature has to be warmer than about 55 degrees for the nematodes to be effective. If it’s a warmer-than-usual spring, nematodes are the best and most environmentally friendly way to eliminate annoying Crane Fly larvae.
Creative Touch Landscaping is a Portland landscape design company that is proficient in lawn care and maintenance. Our team of experienced and intelligent Portland landscapers can help keep pests out of your lawn for good.