may be leatherjackets, but they don't drive Harleys
Washington State University
One of the most ungainly members of the insect world, the
European Crane Fly, stumbles and bumbles into our lives here
in Whatcom County each August. We experience the adults for
about eight to ten weeks each year, but the crane fly is
here in other forms year round. Most of the time this insect
resides as a larvae, called "leatherjacket" in
the soil, most frequently in lawns. And oh, by the way, the
adult doesn't bite, sting, or even eat!
Recent low level detections of common insecticides, Dursban,
diazinon and malathion in stormwater collection basins and
streams in the Lake Whatcom watershed lead me to suspect
that homeowner attempts to control crane fly is the most
probable source of this material.
In certain circumstances and populations, crane fly can be
damaging to lawns and even other landscape plants, but not
often. Most of the time, healthy lawns can tolerate well
the presence of these insect pests, particularly considering
the naturally occurring population controls underway in the
Reducing the amount and methods of use of pesticides to control
this insect will contribute to the protection of our water resources,
including Lake Whatcom, and still provide for healthy lawns
or other ground cover substitutes in our yards.