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Leatherjacket larvae active in Polytunnel


 
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s2sap
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Location: County Down

PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 8:03 pm    Post subject: Leatherjacket larvae active in Polytunnel Reply with quote

This our first year with a polytunnel and we noticed about half a dozen daddy long legs in it last week. We got rid of them but noticed young cabbages were dying from the root and on examination have now found many leatherjacket larvae in the raised vegetable beds.

Firstly - should there be daddy long legs at this time of year ?

Secondly I thought the larvae became active later than this.

Are both of these because of the warm damp conditions in the polytunnel ?

What should we do ?

Reading about Nemasys Leatherjacket Killer it states

" The prolific lawn pest is hunted down and killed by the nematode steinernema feltiae contained in Nemasys Leatherjacket Killer but there is a small window of opportunity to prevent this. Nemasys Leatherjacket Killer applications should be made 1 - 2 weeks after the first craneflies have been spotted from late August onwards. An earlier treatment of Nemasys Leatherjacket Killer can be made in spring as long as soil temperatures are in excess of 10ÂșC but this application, although occasionally successful, is not as productive as the typical autumn dose. "

Do we assume that we are ahead of the seasons inside the polytunnel and use this even though it states for use from August on.

Any help as usual gratefully received

Simon
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sirpsycho
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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've noticed DLLs around very early this year too in my little cold frame which is warm and humid. These conditions probably trick them into appearing sooner than they normally do outside.

The DLLs lay their eggs within 24hrs of hatching and the eggs take 5 weeks or so to hatch. You won't be able to see these for a long time.

I'm guessing the best solution is to dig around and try and remove as many (of the larvae) as possible by hand. I removed a good few of them in my allotment yesterday, nice pickings for the birds Wink
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notenoughspace
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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had lots of DDLs in my polytunnel too, with the last 4 weeks it's been like a DDL brothel. Are they harmful? They don't seem to be damaging anything.
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sirpsycho
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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harmless enough, apart from their eggs in lawns...

When I was a nipper I used to pick their wings out and let them walk around the patio. The cats had a taste for DLLs and they would hover them up! Very Happy
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s2sap
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PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

notenoughspace wrote:
I've had lots of DDLs in my polytunnel too, with the last 4 weeks it's been like a DDL brothel. Are they harmful? They don't seem to be damaging anything.


-Leatherjackets are the larval stage of the crane fly or daddy-long-legs.
-Leatherjacket larvae are about 2.5cm (1" long), greyish black in colour, legless and with no distinct head.
-When you start to see the adult daddy-long-legs in your garden (towards the end of August) you will know that in a few days they will be laying eggs. These will hatch quickly, within two weeks. The young start to feed, continuing throughout winter, ready to gorge on grass roots


Or in our case vegetables

Thanks for the input guys - we have ordered nematodes due to arrive tomorrow - and will let these little warriors into our veg beds to do battle with the mighty leatherbacks - it would almost make a nice tale if we werent watching young beetroot and cabbages etc that we had nurtured being ate from below Crying or Very sad
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Cdog
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does Anybody know how long it takes for the Nematodes to start working on the little critters?? I watered mine in two days ago and my seedlings are still dropping like flies!

Perhaps Im looking for too much too quickly??
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s2sap
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cdog wrote:
Does Anybody know how long it takes for the Nematodes to start working on the little critters?? I watered mine in two days ago and my seedlings are still dropping like flies!

Perhaps Im looking for too much too quickly??


The instructions that came with the nematodes stated it takes two weeks, but at this time of year when the larvae are so big we are not expecting total eradication. We will reapply in Aug / Sep on the advice of the supplier and that should have much greater impact. We applied the nematodes last Saturday and have seen a fall in damage but not 100%.
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