Crane fly invasions could this lead to leatherjackets in pots?

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Crane fly invasions could this lead to leatherjackets in pots?

Post  Michael Cooper on Sun Sep 28, 2014 11:03 pm

There has been an extraordinary number of crane flies this year and I know as far as my lawn goes this means leatherjackets in the soil for which there is no legal pesticide now and I am putting my hopes on nematodes there.
But I also find that daily my trees have the Crane Flies(Daddy Long Legs) on them, could that mean leather jackets in my pots?

Michael Cooper
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Re: Crane fly invasions could this lead to leatherjackets in pots?

Post  leatherback on Mon Sep 29, 2014 7:30 am

It could be; i lost quite a few potentilla last winter. When I came into my storage shed in late feb, I noticed loads of mosquitos. And many roots were completely gnawed away when I pulled them out of their pots in spring checking why they were not leafing out.

This year I will water all pots with generic insecticide some 10 days before moving them into storage, and once again the day they go into storage.

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Re: Crane fly invasions could this lead to leatherjackets in pots?

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:12 am

I have craneflies in my bonsai every year, they are in the pots with moss on the surface...I find, and kick out the larvas during winter, when they have eaten the roots of the moss, and it begin to "buble" up, due to the larva activity under.
I have never had a bonsai killed by this kind of larva, as I find them before the roots are toucht...inbetwen during spring, can I see a larva has left the pot as a grown cranefly...this have not yet given any problems.

Kind regards Yvonne

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Re: Crane fly invasions could this lead to leatherjackets in pots?

Post  David Brunner on Tue Sep 30, 2014 11:33 pm

Hello Micheal - Yvonne is spot on, Crane fly larvae love to eat moss.  When I lived in San Francisco they were a constant problem.  They do not usually disturb the trees, but they do consume the surface moss and make a general mess of things with their burrowing about.  Because they are essentially harmless, except for the loss of moss, I never chose to use pesticides, but if you do they are easy to control with a soil drenching compound available in your area.  I can't comment on the leather jackets as there are many insects that bear that common name.

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Re: Crane fly invasions could this lead to leatherjackets in pots?

Post  Michael Cooper on Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:35 am

The Leatherjacket in the UK is an horrible grub upto 30mm long which is the Larvae of the Crane fly which lays it eggs in the soil or grass and they can totally ruin a lawn.There have been sovery many this year due to the weather this summer and our last mild winter I suppose and I am just concerned about my trees as the crane flies are on them every day
There is now no legal chemical treatment in the Uk only nematodes which I will be using on the lawn next week

Michael Cooper
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Re: Crane fly invasions could this lead to leatherjackets in pots?

Post  David Brunner on Thu Oct 02, 2014 3:14 am

Well then Micheal, I suppose you have leatherjackets.  Nice common name by the way, when they pupate they leave behind annoying leather-like carapaces emerging from the soil.

I know they can be dreadful to lawns etc.  They are pests here as well, mostly in moist areas like our Pacific Northwest.  But they are really only feeding on the bryophytes (mosses, etc.) and the damage to the vascular plants (i.e. lawns and trees) is from their burrowing about.  

If they continue to be a problem I would remove any mosses from the growing media.  This will remove the attractant next spring when they are laying eggs.  You can collect and add mosses for display as necessary.  

If you have had moister weather than usual this year it might explain their above normal abundance.  It seems to me that they are swarming your trees because of the food source for their larvae - mosses.

I hope this is helpful!  Please know that my experience with craneflies is limited to the Pacific Coast of North America - rather a long way from you!

David B.

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Re: Crane fly invasions could this lead to leatherjackets in pots?

Post  Guest on Thu Oct 02, 2014 8:01 am

To be honest do I not even think " their burrowing about." as David say, can kill a bonsaitree, as they stay right under the moss...I never had a smallest shohin suffering from the larvas, even though the moss was a mess.

Kind regards Yvonne

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