Okay Part II; if you missed it, here’s the link to Part 1.
Today we are going to talk about the overuse of pesticides, both herbicides and insecticides. And yes, I am counting both organically produced and laboratory produced in this one.
We use pesticides to rid our gardens of unwanted guests. Whether it is that nasty aphid infestation or those pesky dandelions we reach for the fastest, most effective of blasting them out of existence.
Eradicating Crane Fly:
Recently I overheard a conversation between two men about the European Crane Fly. This large mosquito-looking insect lays its eggs in our lawns. The resulting larvae eat root crowns of the turfgrass. This damage is noticeable by the thinning of the turf in irregular patches of the lawn.
These men were talking about what would be the best solution for dealing with the Crane Fly. I had to join the conversation with a question about how bad their infestation was. They replied they did not have an infestation; rather they were seeing the Crane Fly about and wanted to do something preventative. They were planning on applying an insecticide, double strength, to the entire lawn to kill off the bugs.
I was intrigued by their decision to pour their money down the rat hole and told them so. Nicely, of course. I recommended they do a check for the ‘leatherjackets’ (that’s what Crane Fly larvae are called) by looking for a thinning patch of lawn. No thinning patches of lawn, no crane fly! No further action needed. By the way, the only time a homeowner needs worry about applying insecticides for Crane Fly is April 1 to April 15. It is the only time the application will be effective. Applications of insectide in August when then the Crane Flies are emerging and mating are NOT effective and cost homeowners too much money for zero in return.
If there are thinning patches in the lawn; cut a one foot by one foot shallow square in the lawn, remove the square and count the number of larvae in the sample. If you find less than 25 crane fly larvae in the sample you are golden, don’t waste your money. If there are more than 25 larvae then treat that one spot with an approved insecticide for Crane Fly and for heaven’s sake READ THE DIRECTIONS AND PRECAUTIONS CAREFULLY! Some of these insecticides are dangerous to children, pets, and bees! Bee responsible.
If you have lawn damaged by Crane Fly, overseed with the same grass right now. By June, you will have a great looking lawn!
Learn more about Crane Flies, knowledge is power and often saves you money!