Controlling Crane Fly Infestations


Crane flies are flying bugs that are usually nuisance; however, they don’t bite or spread disease. They are also called daddy long legs that emerge as adults in the late summer or early fall when they mate and lay eggs in the soil. They are usually mistaken as mosquitoes because they look like their super-sized versions. But, while crane flies don’t eat anything after they reach adulthood, they can cause troubles in their larval form. Their larvae are major garden and lawn pests. As they feed below the surface, they destroy plant stems and roots. That is why homeowners will want to consider crane fly extermination in Washington when they see signs of these bugs.

Signs of Crane Fly Damage

Lawns being infested by the crane fly larvae, also called leatherjacket, may look eaten in parts. This infestation can result in uneven parts of grass which have been completely devoured, leaving just brown soil.  When this infestation gets extensive, property owners can find holes in their lawn overnight. Skunks, birds, and other grub-loving predators cause these excavations as they look for crane fly larvae and other grubs. To reach the larvae, they will dig through the groundcover and dig holes.

Although adult crane flies don’t pose serious issues, property owners still want to address them. This is because adults tend to swarm in big numbers, usually underneath outdoor lights and on the building sides.

Young grass is especially vulnerable to crane flies. Lawns and golf greens affected by a crane fly infestation must be repaired, restored, and replaced. Because of this, such infestation is usually bothersome for golf courses and other businesses which maintain big, open fields.

Crane Flies Control

To control adult crane flies, property owners can apply insecticidal soap and pyrethrins. This is a safe method when directions on the product are followed carefully. Sprays that have pyrethrins will paralyze the bugs and kill them. When the pests are exposed to azadirachtin, they are subjected to a natural growth inhibitor which stops their development. This chemical tends to break down within just days, limiting their impact on the environment.

To control the larvae, a grub killer with azadirachtin can be used to stop the infestation at the soil where they live and feed. Also, the larvae will target flowers and vegetables, killing the plants from the ground up. However, to completely eradicate the colony, it is best to let professional exterminators do the job.