European crane fly lawn damage shows up in the Spring
European crane fly (ECF)(tipula paludosa) thrives in our area because of our mild Winters, cool Summers and abundant rainfall. The adult crane fly looks like a long skinny mosquito. The larvae develop a thick jacket over the Winter while feeding on your lawn’s roots, earning the nickname “leatherback”.
One of the tell tales of (ECF) infestation is the presence of birds feeding on the abundant larvae. Holes in the lawn, about the diameter of a pencil, shows where the birds beak pulled the larvae out of the ground. Areas of the lawn could be thin, patchy or missing.
Because most of the damage occurs from December thru April, timing is everything. We include insect control with our Winter fertilizer application. The larvae are young, without the “leather jacket” and easy to control with a very small amount of insect control.
Spring is a good time to grow more grass. We repair the damage with fertilizer, aeration, de-thatching, lime application and over-seeding.