If you have a lawn or garden, you’ve probably seen a crane fly before. Also known as Daddy Long Legs or Leatherjackets, these insects can be quite common in areas with grassy landscapes. In this article, we’ll answer some common questions about crane flies and provide you with some tips for keeping them away from your home.
What is a Crane Fly?
Crane flies are a type of insect that is part of the Tipulidae family. They are often mistaken for mosquitoes due to their long legs and slender body, but they do not bite humans or animals. Crane flies are typically grey or brown in colour and have wings that span up to two inches in length.
How do Crane Flies get in my house?
Crane flies are attracted to light and can often be found near windows or other sources of light in your home. They are also attracted to damp areas, such as basements. To keep crane flies out of your house, make sure that all windows and doors are properly sealed and that any damp areas are dried out.
What is the Crane Fly cycle?
The crane fly cycle begins with the emergence of the crane fly from its pupa from August to September and within weeks it will be laying eggs commonly in lawns. The eggs hatch and go through larvae stages from September to July before pupating. It is during the larval stage that they cause the most damage eating the roots of your lawn and giving it nothing to anchor to or receiving water and nutrients through. These affected areas often suffer from drought first.
Where do Crane Flies come from?
Crane flies are found in many parts of the world and are commonly found in areas with grassy landscapes. They typically lay their eggs in moist soil or near bodies of water, such as ponds or streams.
The larvae of the crane fly feed on the roots of plants and can cause damage to lawns and gardens if present in large numbers. Not only that, they can become predated too. Foxes, badgers and birds are all partial to leatherjackets and they can decimate a lawn in hours looking for the grubs.
Daddy Long Legs or crane fly and their larvae stage, Leatherjackets are commonly found in lawns. There is no rhyme or reason as to why they choose one lawn and not another to breed in. They only really become a problem when their number reaches such, that they are an infestation. This means large swathes of lawns can be damaged from beneath and secondary damage from predatory animals just makes things worse. To prevent secondary damage, apply some netting to the affected area. Then water it profusely.
In early 2023 a new product called Acelepryn has been licensed for the use of leatherjackets and chafer grubs in some circumstances. This should be a last resort not only because it is very expensive, but, measured against having a new lawn laid, perhaps it is good value!