Crane Fly infestation, Depoe Bay

Asked April 7, 2016, 7:54 PM EDT

At Thundering Shores condominiums in Depoe Bay, there is a large area of dying grass and active crow activity digging up the grass. We have been told that it is crane fly larvae damage by non professional people. Since this lawn area is frequently washed in the winter storms by waves, I hate to use chemicals unnecessarily. Do you know someone who would look at the lawn and test for the crane fly larvae, such as a master gardener in this area?

Lincoln County Oregon

1 Response

Unfortunately, Lincoln County Master Gardeners do not make "house calls". However, since you have described significant bird activity (crows digging), it is likely that there is some level of crane fly larvae in the grass. The Metro/Oregon DEQ Natural Gardening book gives some suggestions regarding non-chemical techniques that may be tried. Here is a link to that publication:
Crane fly larvae are in the first inches of soil so you should survey to monitor the situation. You want to shorten the grass to one-inch height in several one square foot spots in the grass area. Then pour some warm water mixed with soap (NOT detergent) on the patch and count the grubs that come to the surface. If there are more than 25 grubs per square foot, then you may want to consider treatment.