• daddylonglegs.jpgIn the local news you’ll probably have seen the headlines of a massive Crane Fly Population about to attack. The Formby Bubble let us know that close to 200 billion of the little critters will be making an appearance this year! So what does that mean for us and our lawns?

    From time to time I come across lawns that have been obliterated by leatherjackets, the larvae, of the Crane Fly, but I must admit this is rare. It’s just down to pure chance that your lawn gets attacked. You will find that every lawn has leather jackets in it but it’s really only when they reach a certain percentage per square metre you notice a huge impact on the lawn. Usually this is manifest by bleached looking patches or birds, particularly starlings, attacking the lawn. This results in tufty patches where they’ve dug them out for you.Leatherjacket damage

    Since the chemical previously used to deal with them has now been removed from the market the only solution is to use nematodes. These biological worms swim into the soil to eat the larvae. Whilst research shows they have been successful it does appear that they require a very specific environment to function to their capacity. The lawn needs to be very wet, with a soil temperature of above 12 degrees and all this over quite an extended period of time. For many domestic lawns within a watering system, and if the weather isn’t on your side, then they can be a waste of time. Personally I’ve not used them and don’t intend to at present unless my hand is forced by overwhelming demand. So what can you do?

    My personal recommendation is if the birds are attacking your lawn just go with it! They will remove the pests for you, relieving you of the need of nematodes. The other option is to sweat them out by placing a black bin bag over the affected area overnight, weighing it down with a couple of stones or bricks and then collecting them off the surface in the morning. A bit gross perhaps but if you want them out then sometimes you’ve got to get your hands dirty.

    I’ve not seen a huge impact on my Formby lawn care customers so far so we might have escaped.¬†Until a safe chemical solution is available, which can’t be far off, we’ll just need to hang in there.