European Crane Fly In Your Lawn

A relatively new, pest has found its way to North America, and has now found a home in the mid-west.  Both species of European Crane Fly (T. Paludosa) and (T. Olecera) were detected in Michigan in 2005.  The larvae is called a leather jacket and can be problematic in any turf.  The larvae are dependent upon moist soil conditions, mild winter sand wet cool summers to survive.  They are favored in areas of the lawn that have heavy thatch build up and poor drainage.  The difference between the two species, T. paludosa has a one year life cycle and T. Oleracea has a two year life cycle.

What will I see?

You will see yellow spots on the grass blades, bare patches, and direct injury to the lawn.  The injury is because of the disruption of the root zone, caused by the leather jackets, the adults feed on the crown and grass blades.  Most damage occurs from early to late spring and again in early to late fall.

How did European Crane Fly end up in my yard?

Both species of Crane Fly originated from Europe, and were first detected in North America {Canada}, several years ago, and now have migrated to the United States and have now found a home in Michigan.

How can I control the problem?

The best method of treating European Crane Fly is with a dual insecticide that treats both surface and sub-surface insects.  The European Crane fly’s life cycle is similar to that of a grub, this is why a dual insecticide is necessary, to control both the surface feeding adults, and the root feeding larvae; two treatments a year (one in spring and again in the fall), for 2 years is needed to control this exotic pest.


It is difficult to distinguish between the two species of European Crane Fly, and our own species of crane fly indigenous to North America. This is why a two year treatment plan is recommended, so that both the one year and two year cycles of each species are controlled.

Call if you think you might have them in your lawn.