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We’ve heard a lot about prevention these days. Want to prevent heart disease? Exercise and eat healthily. Cold and flu prevention? Take your vitamins, cover your coughs and sneezes, and get a flu shot. And those darn cavities? Prevent them by flossing and brushing daily. It might seem annoying to hear all of these prevention tips, but here at One Step, we think prevention is a great strategy. European Crane Flies are a great example of a situation where prevention is way easier than treatment. Photo Credit: Dave Shetlar, OSU

What is a European Crane Fly?

European Crane Flies are an invasive species, making their New York State debut back in 2004. There are two types of European Crane Flies that have been detected in New York State: T.paludosa, which originated in northwestern Europe, and T.oleracea, which originated in central and southern Europe. These two species of crane flies have spread from Europe to Canada, South America, and the United States, including Monroe County. Believe us, European Crane Flies are not here to share their beautiful accents or delicious cuisine. They’re here to wreak havoc on our lawns.

Why Should We Care About European Crane Flies?

It’s true that New York State already has some native species of crane flies, but it is important to realize that the native species are non-injurious. The European species, however, damage turf’s root systems, causing lawns to turn yellow and develop bare patches. The damaged areas can range in size from a few feet to an entire lawn. Birds and other critters are also likely to damage turf from searching for larvae (think peck-holes). Residential lawns aren’t they only victims; European Crane Flies prey on golf courses, sod farms, and grass seed fields as well. Because European Crane Flies are becoming more prevalent in New York State and Monroe County, we’re pleased to offer our customers a preventative treatment. We use a granular product that is applied during the fall season. We encourage our customers to call our office to add it to their regular program. After all, prevention is key!

How to Detect European Crane Flies

Now that the snow has melted, it’s a good idea to check your lawn for any signs of European Crane Flies. Some residents in Rochester and Monroe County have already spotted mature European Crane Flies; they look like giant mosquitoes. You can also look for pupal cases if you have low mowed grass. These pupal cases are long, thin, cocoon-like shells sticking out from the ground. If you do not have a shortly cut lawn, try looking for the Crane Fly in the larval stage. European Crane Fly larvae range from 1 ½ to 2 inches in size. They are greyish-brown and wormlike, and have tough skin. They can be most easily spotted in the late evening or early morning when they come out of the ground to feed on grass above the soil surface.

How Do You Get Rid of European Crane Flies?

Like we said earlier, prevention is the best method. There are a handful of products in home and garden stores that can be applied mid to late spring to control the larvae. Other products are available for application during the fall season to prevent infestation (this is the method that One Step uses).

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