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Craneflies and leatherjackets – the new pest in town

Leather Jacket (larvae), Crane Fly (adult)Lawns in the Greater Toronto Area have been harassed by chinch bugs and white grubs for a long time. In the last few years though, a new pest has appeared and it is becoming more common.

Craneflies (Tipula paludosa, Tipula oleracea) are large, long-legged flying insects, sometimes called mosquito hawks because of their similarity in shape to the blood-drinkers, and the mistaken idea that craneflies eat mosquitoes. Craneflies have no mouth parts, and live as adults just long enough to breed.

It is the young larva, known as leatherjackets, that do all the eating. Leatherjackets are grey-brown and grow to between one half and three cm. Leatherjackets are easily differentiated from white grubs. Leatherjackets have no visible head, are brown, live just above the soil, and do not usually curl up into a C-shape. The leather jackets chew on the crown of the grass plant, which is where the blade grows from. The grass blade topples over and dies like a lumbered tree, and the leatherjacket moves on to the next grass plant. With enough of them in your lawn, you end up with large dead patches of ‘stubble’.

Adult craneflies are active from the beginning of June through the end of August. They are not good fliers, and you will often see them rising from the lawn as you mow it or near outdoor lights after dark. A few here and there is not a concern, but if you are finding them swarming around, call a professional. They are breeding and will soon be infesting your lawn with hundreds or thousands of leatherjackets. LawnSavers has an effective treatment for managing leatherjackets that will minimize any damage.

 

curbside craneflies and leatherjackets lawnsavers

Rain forces leatherjackets out of the soil and often washes them off to hard surfaces like this roadside.

How bad can they get?

These leatherjackets washed out of a lawn after a heavy rainfall.  A healthy lawn can withstand at least 20 leatherjackets per square foot, but populations can explode quickly and create devastating numbers before you even know it!  Nematodes used for Grub management will NOT control leatherjackets.  Nematodes are always species specific in their targeting.  LawnSavers has the correct strain of Nematodes to control these larvae.  Applications should be scheduled by the middle of October for best results!

We can also assist you with: ticks, mosquitos, and gypsy moths.

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    Hi Everyone, 

    LawnSavers managed to persevere through this last pandemic year with the loyal partnership of our clients.

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    2020 is now behind us.  Together with our customers, we face Covid-19 head-on as a community-minded local small family business and are extremely grateful to be able to survive and keep all of our loyal employees working hard with us through it all.

    2020 threw everything bad that it could at us:

    • Nine days of snow, ice and wintry weather in May.
    • One of the hottest driest summers on record with long spells of grass-killing heat and drought. Read more here in our 2020 summary blog.
    • A bumper crop of crabgrass that germinated in the perfect (rainless) storm.
    • Chinch Bug numbers were record breaking and persisted through the dry heat they love, secretly killing lawns while dormant! We can help with Chinch bug damage
    • We put together an easy to read lawn care service timeline that you can use to know when to expect us for each scheduled service in your package. 

    I want to reassure you that in every decision we make around COVID-19, our number one priority remains the health and safety of our employees and customers.  Safety, Integrity and honesty are our most important core values.  We will continue to follow strict safety guidelines that ensure “zero touch”.  We will not let our guard down on exercising our safety protocols!

    Thank you all for your understanding and extra patience during these challenging times. Our team works hard, so if you are met with our exceptional service from our technicians or office team members- please give them a thumbs up to make them smile or let me know through a quick email to feedback@lawnsavers.com

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     genuinely appreciate each and every one of you and promise that we will do our part to ensure our mutual safety and look forward to be back on your lawn as soon as possible this Spring

    Thank you in advance,
    Kyle Tobin
    Chief Environmental Officer