These pests are the larvae of the crane fly or daddy-long-legs. Suggesting hairless caterpillars, these legless larvae are about an inch long when fully grown, slow-moving with tough, leathery skins — usually an earthy or yellowish-brown colour. The flies are most abundant in late summer, laying their shining, black eggs at the base of grasses. Like wireworm, these pests are common on land newly broken up from grass. They are more troublesome on damp, poorly-drained soils. They soon succumb to very dry weather. Carnations, pinks, violas, dahlias, lettuces, potatoes, brassicas generally, as well as many bulbs, possibly suffer most, the roots, corms and underground portions generally being eaten. On lawns heavy infestations are denoted by browning of the grass which dies off in small patches.

Regular cultivation, e.g. digging and hoeing, helps, but a BHC, Pyrethrin or aldrin insecticide applied any time from October to April in mild weather, is the best answer.

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