Spring LeatherJacket activity

It’s starting, a few reports of cranefly beginning to hatch are coming in. In fact they started a couple of weeks back – particularly on sites that had reported early damage. These tend to be in the mildest areas of the country. I’m definitely seeing patterns between warmer sections of the country and levels of LeatherJacket activity. The reports to date are very similar to last year.

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Whilst I’m getting a few reports of of hatching I am getting lots of reports of high levels of LeatherJacket mobility and activity on the surface of their greens. Turf Managers who had seen no activity or damage all winter are suddenly seeing large amounts of them on the surfaces that they hadn’t expected to see.

PestTracker reported sightings

I suspect (but do not know for sure!) that this is some last minute activity as they prepare to pupate. This wandering phenomenon is fairly well understood in insects that feed above the surface and then “wander” to the soil in order to start their immobile pupal stage in the soil, that could well be what we are seeing here, this particular behavior in LeatherJackets is not something I can find any reference to in any papers but I will ask around.

The thing I’m really interested in when the do hatch is what species are we seeing – for an in depth ID guide click here…. but in short:

  • Female – Shorter wings, Separate eyes = paludosa
  • Female – Longer wings, Eyes connected = oleracea
  • Male – don’t bother trying

We should only see the oleracea hatching in the spring which (assuming it’s female) has wings longer than the body. I think the below picture is female and has longer wings but it’s tough to tell – I’m relying on you for feedback.

The reported Cranefly hatch so far (9th April 2021)

If you see CraneFly hatching – please, please, please log it on PestTracker

If you notice this wandering behaviour and it does tie in with pupating then I’d be really interested to hear your experiences.

If you can ID the Cranefly – please let me know.

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