In 2011, we had a positive identification of the European Crane Fly larvae on one of our customers properties in Northeast Harbor. In discussions with folks at the University of Mass Turf Care Division, a common thought was that when Hurricane Irene hit New England the excessive rains allowed the populations to grow. The areas that were damaged in Northeast Harbor were within sodded turf grass from 2010. This means that these insects were probably introduced to our area by means of sod. They can also be spread by other means (migration) but sod transport would seem to be the most direct path.
What you need to know
The potential for these invasive insects to spread has already come and gone. This means that we all need to be on the lookout and it is our job to spread the word to our customers and friends.
Damage from these insects occurs in the fall and will stop or dramatically slow down in the winter and then continue in the spring time again. Much like the Grubs in our area, they feed on the root masses of turf grass. In addition to turf grass, they will also feed on other crops like turnips, berries, carrots and others. The feeding stage is the “larval” state or worm stage of their life cycle. The adult stage is a fly that looks similar to a mosquito but is at least 15 times larger and will mate and lay eggs within a few weeks. Each female can lay upwards to 300 eggs. The adult stage will take place within August – October. Eggs will hatch in to the larvae (or worm) in October and will feed until temperatures get too cold. At that point they will migrate into the soil and overwinter. In the spring is when most damage will occur, as they will feed from January on through June.
This insect is extremely destructive to turf grass when populations are high. Control measures can be taken in the fall when the larvae is young. Nothing can be done when they are adults as they are a flying insect and treatments can not be effectively achieved.
This is a notification to all that are interested. We feel that the word needs to be spread regarding this insect as chances are it will continue to migrate northward throughout our state. It appears that these insects like to lay eggs in moist areas. Since our state contains many bodies of water it stands to reason that the populations will survive and continue to spread. Time and monitoring lawns in our areas will tell.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to post against this article or call our offices.