European Crane Fly or commonly known as “Mosquito eaters” have become a common pest in the Northwest. Although Crane Fly does not actually eat mosquitoes, they get their name from the close resemblance to the common mosquito. Crane flies do not often feed during the adult phase of the life cycle; however the larvae are responsible for damage caused to lawns and turf grasses.
The larvae of Crane Fly eat the root system of lawns. New lawns are especially susceptible to Crane Fly damage due to the fact the root system has not been fully established. Healthy, well fertilized lawns can normally tolerate small quantities of larvae. A quick way to see if you have a problem is to cut a 1 foot patch of your lawn out at the root level. If you see a concentration of 25 or more larvae per square foot, you may have a problem. Because the larvae attack the root system, turf grasses do not get the nutrition and water they need to be successful and will die.
The damage is usually found around the edges of the lawns, and can also develop into large patches throughout your property. In severe cases you can actually watch your lawn disappear.
Treating your lawn in the fall or early spring is the best way to prevent problems with crane fly. Parkrose Hardware has several granular treatments you can use. Because these treatments often cover a variety of pests, be sure to start close to your house and work towards the outer perimeter to ensure you are driving these pests away from your home and not into it. Because some of these treatments can be toxic to bees, avoid using the active ingredient Carbaryl when you see flowering weeds such as dandelions, oxalis and clover in your lawn.