Leatherjackets (Tipula spp.) are the larvae of the Crane Fly (or Daddy long legs). These adult insects are usually seen flying around from late August through to October. The adults do not cause plant damage.
The larvae emerge as small grubs and have an elongated tubular body, but don’t have legs or an obvious head. They are greyish brown in colour and can grow up to 30mm in length.
How do I know if Leatherjackets are in my lawn?
If you are seeing an increase of activity on your lawn from birds, especially starlings, magpies and rooks, pecking away at your lawn or notice that wild life, such as badgers or foxes, have been appearing and are digging away at your lawn you could have an infestation of Leatherjackets, living in your lawn’s root zone.
As a professional lawn care company we usually notice an increase of calls from customers around Autumn time. This is when Leatherjackets are injected into your lawn’s root zone by their Mother. At this time of year she is looking for a ready supply of food for her young. She will lay her eggs by hopping on your lawn’s surface. Every time she lands she will insert her pointed abdomen into the soil and deposit an egg. If you are unlucky she may have decided that your lawn is going to supply the nourishment her growing young need to survive.
The initial signs of an infestation of Leatherjackets are bird and wild animal damage to your lawns surface. Birds and animals are aware of the Leatherjackets in your lawn and they also see them as a ready food supply. During the day time the larvae remain under the soil, but if the nights are wet they may appear on the surface and will feed on grass plant stems.
As the Leatherjacket larvae develop their appetite will also increase and your lawn will develop patches where the grass turns yellowish brown and often dies off as the larvae completely devour your lawn’s root system. This is easily identified as you can see if the root system has been attacked by tugging at the grass….. if it moves easily away from the soil you can be sure your lawn’s root system has been eaten.
What treatments are available?
The only effective prevention for this nuisance pest is to apply the appropriate insecticide to your lawn prior to the damage being caused. A great lawn care professional can advise on how and when to carry out this preventative treatment. A regular and thorough observation of your lawn is essential when you want to control Leatherjackets.….and deal with them as soon as they appear!
Why not take advantage of the Lawnscience FREE lawn review service. One of our local lawn care professionals can attend your lawn and inspect any issues it may have and provide a fully costed solution for you.
If you believe you have a Leatherjacket infestation it is important to take quick action, as the damage caused by Leatherjackets can destroy an entire lawn in a very short period of time. This can be very costly to fix.
If you suspect that your lawn is infested with Leatherjackets why not take advantage of the Lawnscience lawn review service. One of our fully trained lawn care professionals will be happy to arrange a FREE lawn review for you. To take advantage of this great service just contact us.