Lawn Treatment

Lawn Pests Leatherjackets – How to get rid of them

Lawn Pests Leatherjackets

Leather Jackets Insects – you need to keep an eye out for these guys or they’ll leave you with yellow patchy grass and grass seeds that never get to root because they are gobbled up by the leather jackets. In fact you may have bare or no grass in areas of your lawn.


What Are Leather Jackets Insects?

The strange name, suggests a hardy opponent in your bid to achieve a lovely lawn, something worthy of your grudging respect. The lawn pests leatherjackets are the larvae of daddy long legs or crane flies.  It’s hard to believe that something so light and summery as the daddy long leg could emerge from the ugly form of the leather jacket


And the leather jacket does look ugly. They look like short fat legless worms with a pasty brown colour.


Leather Jackets Insects
Lawn pest leatherjacket. Source:
By Rasbak (Own work)



How Do you Know you Have Leather Jackets Insects?

Apart from the unsightly yellow and bald patches they leave on your lawn,  the presence of birds pecking away at the grass searching for grub may suggest that Leather Jackets Insects lie underneath your grass. To check, pull back the turf of your lawn. If you have them you will see Leather Jackets Insects lurking in the dark of the soil.


When are Leather Jackets Insects active? When should you treat?

The best time to tackle Leather Jackets Insects is between August and October. That’s when the female daddy long legs lays up to 300 eggs. The larvae hatch within two weeks. It’s then they do their real damage by feeding on the grass roots.


With a cold winter they may not hatch but remain in the ground to emerge mid-summer.  During warmer winters, the larvae may hatch and wreak some damage eating away at the grass roots. So you really need check for leatherjackets and take action between August and October.


How to Get Rid of  Lawn Pests Leather Jackets Insects

One way to check for leatherjackets is to spray the affected area with water, then cover the area with a black plastic sack – you want to block out the light. The next day you will see the leather jackets lying on the grass surface having come through the soil under the dark cover. You can scoop these up and remove them.  Repeat this a few weeks later.


For a more thorough approach water the infected area with a biological control called ‘Steinernema feltiae’ a parasitic nematode that will kill the pest.  Make sure to treat the outer edges of the area where you have found the leather jackets. This will stop the larvae spreading and infecting another area.  The nematode works best on moist soil .



For more expert advice, contact Greenfeet consultants. You can book  here to book your FREE lawn evaluation. It’s a well worth doing so you can set your plans in place to get your garden up and running.  Greenfeet consultants look forward to helping you.

Lawn Pests Leatherjackets
Lawn Pests Leatherjackets