Insect specialists have predicted we are set to see an explosion of Daddy Long Legs over the coming weeks – with an estimated 200 billion Crane Fly reported as being set to emerge.
Whilst Buglife and the Daily Mail would have you think it’s a plague of biblical proportions, in fact it happens pretty much every year!
Conditions have been particularly favourable for Crane Fly in recent years, enjoying wetter soil conditions over the summer and then dry, settled weather in the autumn when they emerge. The flies have only a few days in which to mate and lay their eggs in the soil, before they die.
The adult flies themselves cause no real issues for us, aside from landing in members’ drinks on the terrace. However, the larval stage, as Leatherjackets, are an immense problem.
And large populations of Crane Flies means more eggs laid and more Leatherjackets. They do cause some damage by feeding on turf plant roots, but the real catastrophe can be from birds – especially crows – badgers and other animals rooting around to feed on grubs. We’ve all seen results of areas of a perfect green turned to a ploughed field overnight.
At the moment there’s no real control options. But it’s a threat that the industry will need to look to resolve in the near future, if we are to avoid serious losses.
If you have any pictures or reports of damage to your course caused by Leatherjackets, we would be pleased to hear from you. The better we can quantify the scale of the problem, the greater the chance to seek out a cross-industry R&D solution. Please message or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org