Getting rid of Crane Flys in my lawn

Asked April 18, 2016, 12:19 AM EDT

A landscaper said my patchy lawn is a result of Crane Flys. How can I eradicate them without the use of toxic chemicals? I have never seen the flys. Can you send a picture of one? Do they eat the roots of the grass.. I have about 1/2 the lawn I had a year ago. Thanks for your help

Linn County Oregon

1 Response

Crane Flies look like great big mosquitoes. Some people call them Montana Mosquitoes, or Mosquito Hawks. We have two different Crane Flies in the Willamette Valley, the Common Crane Fly (Tipula oleracea) and the European Crane Fly (ECF) ((Tipula paludosa). The ECF is the one that causes lawn damage. The flying form of the ECF is not the culprit in the damage to your lawn. The EFC larvae, sometime called leather jackets, damage your lawn by feeding on the tender roots of your grass. Over seeding, having a good watering schedule, and feeding your lawn a good fertilizer will create a healthy well established lawn that will survive the ECF. The ECF lays its eggs in September and early October each year. If you shut off your irrigation, or stop watering your lawn right after Labor Day your lawn will dry and make it less hospitable for the ECF eggs to survive. Here is a link to an excellent paper on the European Crane Fly and the various ways they can be controlled. This site includes photos of the flying form and larval form of the ECF.