Mosquito Hawks

S0rcy

Chillin' In The Garden
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I am getting lots of questions about this on my school site and thought I'd just post my ditty here as well :D Alot of people do not realize that what they are calling Mosquito Hawks are not actually mosquito eaters at all. True "mosquito hawks" are dragon flies. Dragon flies do eat a variety of prey, but the more delicate looking "mosquito hawks" that are a danger to lawn now are actually Crane Flies.

The Crane Fly larvae stage is called a Leatherjacket that lives within the top two inches of the soil and feeds generously on grass roots as the weather begins to warm up. This can lead to large bald patches or browning in various areas of the lawn as they feed. They are more of a nuisance in warmer areas than those that recieve snow.

There are good pictures here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crane_fly

The warmer your area gets earlier in the season, the more active the larvae will be. A good aeration and fertilization program dramatically reduces the damage to almost nothing. Good deep root systems can easily withstand the damage of leatherjackets.

Leatherjackets are often a help in the compost pile as they go through the decaying matter that is there.

Adult Crane flies cannot bite, they do not feed, they only live to mate, lay, and then die. They can be a nuisance in late spring and early summer as the leatherjackets turn into the adult flying form.
 

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