What Are Crane Flies?
Crane fly is a name that is commonly used to refer to any insect member of the family Tipulidae. Sometimes, crane flies are colloquially known was daddy longelegs, a term which is also often used to describe mosquito hawks.
Crane flies can be found everywhere in the world. However, there are individual species of the insect that have limited ranges. Crane flies are most diverse in tropical areas and are also really common in areas of high elevations and northern latitudes.
The family of Tipulidae is a family of insects that greatly resembles giant mosquitoes when they become adult. The adult crane fly has really slender body with legs that are stilt-like. These legs are deciduous which mean it easily comes off the insect’s body. The Tipulidae family is one of the largest families of insects with more than 15 000 species as well as 525 genera and subgenera.
A crane fly’s wing span generally reaches about 1.0 -6.5 cm with antennae that have up to 39 segments. Crane flies are also characterized by the V-shaped suture found at the back of their thorax and by the insect’s wing venation. As for the rostrum, crane flies have long rostrum with some of its species having rostum as long as the head and the thorax together. The adult crane fly does not eat, only the larvae do.
Crane flies are usually yellow, gray or brown in color. Their larvae, also known as leatherjackets, look very much like brown worms. These larvae can cause destruction to your grass and turf. The crane fly’s eggs are shaped round and long and can be dark brown to black in color. You can usually find clusters of the crane fly eggs in areas like fresh water, brackish and marine. With that, you can see that crane flies have versatility in surviving in varying environments.
How to Get Rid of Crane Flies
Adult crane flies do not live very long and are not dangerous, so the best method of crane fly control is to target the larvae. By decreasing their habitat, and increasing the ability of turfgrass growth and using beneficial nematodes, you can significantly reduce crane fly populations. Dethatching and lawn aeration are important in the fight against crane flies; buy a lawn care program, from you local pro lawn care service provider that includes both of these services at least once a year, more often if your thatch is very thick. Once those services are delivered, reduce the water you apply to your lawn. Crane flies need a moist environment to survive, but most lawns will do just fine with moderately dry soil as long as they receive a good soaking when they are watered.