Do you need to treat leatherjackets in your lawn?
What are Leatherjackets?
A leatherjacket is the larva of the crane fly, or the Daddy Longlegs as it is more commonly known. The crane fly lays eggs as part of the natural life cycle. The larvae can be good for the soil ecosystem, because they process organic material and increase microbial activity. However, they can cause considerable damage to your lawn are not generally appreciated by gardeners! At this time of year, we should be regularly checking our lawns for signs of leatherjacket larvae damage. In the worst case scenario, an infestation of leatherjackets can decimate your lawn so being alert and checking for larvae during winter and early spring is a good idea.
How to spot Leatherjackets in your law
- Dry patches in the lawn
- Peeling back the dry patches reveal the grubs in the soil. The leatherjackets are grey/brown with a tough skin
- A large number of daddy long legs around your garden
How to treat leatherjackets in your lawn
The difficulty with leatherjackets is that there is very little you can do to prevent them and unfortunately there are no chemical treatments available. There are, however, ways you can treat leatherjackets in your lawn and get rid of them from your garden.
- They are valuable prey for birds and mammals various so let nature take it’s course! The birds may peck at the lawn in the hunt for the larvae but with a bit of luck they will solve your problem before the grubs hatch
- It is possible to treat leatherjackets in your lawn by covering the area with a large black plastic sheet overnight. This will encourage the leatherjackets to come to the surface of the lawn, so they can be removed in the morning once you take off the sheet
You will find that when the larvae have eventually hatched, the crane fly will disappear away and continue their life cycle elsewhere. As mentioned above, there are no pesticides available since changes in EU legislation as few years ago. There are organic solutions available which you can try but they have limited success. These are called nematodes, which are actually microscopic worms. The way they work is that they get into the grubs and infect them with a bacterial disease which kills them. There are lots of factors which need to be right for this treatment to work.
Want to treat leatherjackets in your lawn? Contact us today!