Of Crane Fly Larvae and Cold

Last fall, we saw a huge explosion in the numbers of crane flies. In some yards, there were so many that one could not dare to breathe through the mouth out of fear of sucking some down.

Adult Crane flies are harmless, in and of themselves. The problems crane flies cause are during the larvae stage - in early April. The larvae feed on the roots and blades of lawn grass. They are responsible for small to large areas of grass dying off as well as being a target for the ubiquitous mole.

With the crane fly problem in mind, I did a little bit of investigating.
I discovered that one condition that destroys many crane fly larvae is cold temperatures.  Unfortunately - according to Dr. Charles Brun, a Clark County Extension Agent - the cold weather would not have killed the flies.  Darn.

That would leave it up to the birds to come and peck at enough of them to keep their population down.  Has your yard been full of birds a few times this spring?  Missed again.

That leaves the pesticide approach.  The WSU Extension in Pullman states on their website:

The products and their active ingredients are listed below.

  • Bayer Advanced Garden Power Force Multi-Insect Killer R-T-S, cyfluthrin.
  • Ortho BugBGon Max Insect Killer for Lawns, bifenthrin.

The time to kill the larvae is within the next two weeks.  It might save your lawn and make it a much more enjoyable place this fall.

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