I'm not sure if the large, non-biting insects I see every summer
around this time are crane flys or gnats. They look like big
mosquitoes but they don't bite.
If they are crane flys, then what can I put on my lawn either right
now, or later in the fall, or maybe in the spring to kill the
leatherjacket larvae that will eat the roots? Will grub killer also
kill these buggers to?
Knats are tiny little things -sometimes regionally called nosee'ems cuz they
are so small. Craneflies, OTOH, look like mosquitoes on steroids.
Unless one has a serious infestation - more than 35 of the white grub larvae
per square foot - treatment is usually not warranted. Birds will get the
majority of them or reducing the watering schedule on your lawn can help -
they need moist soil to survive and if you live in a cool season lawn
environment, allowing the soil to go dormant in summer (as is the nature of
cool season grasses) is an effective option.
If the situation warrants, you can apply beneficial nematodes in spring once
the soil warms up. To my understanding, milky spore is not effective against
cranefly larvae, only Japanese beetle larvae.
pam - gardengal
Cranefly adults, which are often mistaken for giant mosquitoes, are
actually harmless. They are long and slender with very long legs.
"Mosquito hawk" is another common name given to the cranefly.
The name Gnat is applied to small insects in the order Diptera (the true
Flies) and specifically within the suborder Nematocera. This suborder
represents the more primitive members of the Dipteran order but still
contain within their number several very notable and important families
such as the Chironomidae (Midges) and the Culicidae (mosquitoes). Other
families include the Tipulidae (crane flies), Bibionidae (hairflies),
Ceratopogonidae (biting midges), Cecidomyidae (gall midges), Simuliidae
(black flies), and others. The males often assemble together in large
mating swarms. Gnat larvae are mostly free-living, many feeding on
plants though some are carnivorous. Larval plant feeders, e.g., the
Hessian fly larvae, cause root, stem, and leaf galls to be formed by the
host plant. Some species of fungus gnats (families Mycetophilidae and
Sciaridae) are very common pests of mushrooms and roots of potted plants
in homes and greenhouses. Some South American Pleurothallid Orchids are
pollinated by tiny Gnats and have correspondingly small flowers.
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