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Organic Controls for Garden Pests
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Leatherjackets - Tipula paludosa

Most people are familiar with crane flies or "Daddy Long Legs" - an insect that flies around on warm Autumn nights. It is often attracted into houses by the warmth and light, and can be seen dancing around lampshades or making shadows on walls. Not so many people are aware that the larvae of the crane fly is a grey-brown cigar-shaped grub called a "leatherjacket". These grubs hatch out under the grass in late August/September. They overwinter there until they stop feeding in mid-May to pupate, emerging as the leggy adults we know in August.


Click here for Leatherjacket Treatment

From August until mid-May they are eating the roots of your lawn, resulting in brown tufty patches, resembling Chafer damage, but looking its worst in March/April. Often lawn damage is made worse by the badgers, foxes, magpies, and other birds which grub up the turf looking for a tasty meal.

In tunnels and glasshouses leatherjackets can be a problem if the ground has been left uncultivated for a while. In our glasshouses in Sussex we used to be plagued by leatherjackets every spring, eating up the roots of peppers and other tender transplants.

Nematodes Steinernema feltiae

These are microscopic beneficial nematodes (eel worms) which are watered into the lawn with a watering can or hose feeder. They enter the grub and poison it so that it will die within a few days.
The nematodes which target leatherjackets Steinernema feltiae are also useful in controlling sciarid fly larvae and will tackle thrips pupae found on the soil

More information...
Standard pack: 50 million nematodes covers 100sqm -
25 inc P&P

Large pack: 250 million nematodes covers 500sqm -
85 including UK Postage