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They may be leatherjackets, but they don't drive Harleys 

Craig MacConnell
Washington State University
Cooperative Extension
Whatcom County

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 landscape.

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.

In this article...


Smart Management

Grow healthy lawns

The cycle of life

Monitoring and decision- making

See also:

"ECF & CCF" - by Sharon Collman

"Managing ECF in Whatcom Co." - by Todd Murray and Scarlet Tang

"ECF- Management History & the loss of Dursban" - Antonelli and Stahnke
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