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The European crane fly, Tipula paludosa. Leatherjacket.

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The European crane fly, Tipula paludosa. Leatherjacket.

Postby Durgan » May 09, 2008 4:38 pm

9 May 2008 The European crane fly, Tipula paludosa. Leatherjacket.

http://aapii.notlong.com/ 9 May 2008 The European crane fly, Tipula paludosa. Leatherjacket.

Common name for the larvae is leatherjacket. I always have some in the garden, but since 2004 not enough to be of real concern. When a seedling is dying for no apparent reason, I always scrape the soil around the base of the plant. At night the leatherjackets crawl up the plant and eat leaves.

This insect was first reported in Canada in 1955 on Cape Breton Island. Vancouver, B.C. in 1965.

For a few years its North American distribution was limited to the western and eastern Maritime provinces of Canada (British Columbia and Nova Scotia) and on the western coast of the United States (Washington State and Oregon).

In 1996 and 1997 there were several reports of leatherjackets causing damage in turf from Whitby, Toronto and Hamilton mountain area. In 1998 they were identified as European crane fly

I encountered hundreds if not thousands in 2004 in Branford, and they devastated many seedlings. They thrive in Spring in very wet conditions, and can survive under water. Eventually flocks of starlings got them under control. I picked hundreds from around some plants.
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Postby haili » May 09, 2008 5:12 pm

Durgan: I found something that looked a lot like that at the roots of my Polish Spirit Clematis that died over winter a couple of years ago. In the same bed I used to have a little dicentra for about 10 years and it died as something ate the roots. Bought a couple more and they died so have given up on them. Do those larvae eat roots?
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Postby Durgan » May 09, 2008 6:58 pm

haili wrote:Durgan: I found something that looked a lot like that at the roots of my Polish Spirit Clematis that died over winter a couple of years ago. In the same bed I used to have a little dicentra for about 10 years and it died as something ate the roots. Bought a couple more and they died so have given up on them. Do those larvae eat roots?


The leatherjackets suck the life out of the plants by eating the roots. The plant dies by small wounds. Instead of growing the plant seems to shrink. In 2004 I didn't know what was killing many of my plants. I took a flashlight out at night and discovered these European Crane Fly leatherjackets crawling up the plant, then the next day I dug around the plants and found hundreds of these beasts.

At the time I didn't know what they were, and eventually found out, since they were new to my area. Then I got interested and did some searching. The little beast is spreading all across the NA Continent. At first I thought they were cut-worms, but eventually knew this was not the case due primarily because of the number. My salvation was the starlings, which use to congregate in my yard several times a day, and eat prodigious quantities of the leatherjackets. I almost became a Morman overnight.

The adult is the mosquito hawk or Texas critter, which already laid eggs for next year when seen. There is little point in killing the adult, but if seen in large quantities, you can be sure your garden will have many leatherjackets the following year if conditions are favourable, which are a wet Spring, and a quality lawn where the adults lay their eggs the previous year. In quantity the leatherjackets destroy lawns similar to the Japanes Beetle, and June Bug (?).
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Postby haili » May 10, 2008 5:06 pm

Thanks for the info. I often wonder why some plants do well but others have roots which disintegrate - in the same flower beds. I hope it's not an infestation. We do have lots of birds around so maybe they keep them down.
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Postby Eeyore » May 11, 2008 12:23 am

Interesting, thanks for the info Durgan. I had always thought the Mosquito Hawks were good guys!
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Postby Durgan » May 11, 2008 5:31 am

Eeyore wrote:Interesting, thanks for the info Durgan. I had always thought the Mosquito Hawks were good guys!


What is even more irritating is that mosquito hawks don't even eat mosquitoes. And further their species cannot be controlled by eliminating the adults, since when they are flying about the eggs have already been deposited. But they are rather interesting in appearance.
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