Nfld. & Labrador

'Like it was biblical': Kippens lawn infested with crane fly larvae

A homeowner in Kippens is worried about the health of his family and his property after being overrun with an infestation of crane fly larvae.

Roland Peddle says he can't solve the problem because of a pesticide ban

Roland Peddle has been shoveling crane fly larvae into buckets to try and control the infestation on his property in Kippens. (Submitted by Roland Peddle)

A homeowner in Kippens is worried about the health of his family and the state of his property after being overrun with an infestation of crane fly larvae.

Roland Peddle first noticed brown spots on his lawn once the snow started to melt earlier this spring, thinking it was just damage from the winter.

It's almost like it was biblical, like it was a plague.- Roland Peddle

Then last Thursday Peddle looked out his window on the morning after a big rainfall, and saw the culprits behind the lawn damage — thousands of small grub-like insects crawling all over the land surrounding his home on Orchard Loop.

"My driveway, I swear to heavens, it was dancing with this larvae," he told CBC. "It's almost like it was biblical, like it was a plague."

Crane fly larvae infestation

CBC News Newfoundland

4 years ago
Roland Peddle's property in Kippens, Newfoundland has been overrun with crane fly larvae recently. 0:14

Peddle, a teacher, used a hose to spray the bugs away from his home, and went to work for the morning. When he came home for lunch, the driveway was covered once again. That's when he called a pest control company in Corner Brook, who told him what the insects were.

He was told they were larvae of the crane fly, commonly known as daddy or dandy long legs. The larvae are sometimes referred to as leatherjackets.

No solution

Staff at Modern Pest Control in Corner Brook told him nothing could be done to get rid of the bugs, as the only pesticide that can kill them was taken off the market last year.

Peddle called the Newfoundland and Labrador environment department to leave a message on Friday, and is awaiting a response.

The front lawn on Orchard Loop in Kippens would normally be green this time of year, but homeowner Roland Peddle says an infestation of crane fly larvae is killing the grass. (Submitted by Roland Peddle)

Some of his neighbours on Orchard Loop are also having the same problem, and he's heard of a few others in nearby Stephenville who are dealing with infestations as well. He said the Town of Kippens is also very concerned about the larvae and plans to visit his property on Monday.

Could turn into bigger problem

Concerned about possible health risks to his four and seven-year old sons, Peddle has been spraying tens of thousands of the larvae away from his home or shovelling them into buckets to try and control the problem.

The crane fly larvae (left), also known as a leatherjacket, will turn into a crane fly (right), also known as a daddy long legs. (Wikipedia)

However, he is being told his efforts are likely not going to make much of a difference and that the problem could get much worse without the proper pesticide.

"What's going to happen is they're all going to manifest into these dandy long legs, and then in the fall of the year they're going to be looking for more places to lay their eggs."

With files from Lisa Gushue