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Leatherjackets Dwindle After Two Bumper Years

23 April 2015

UK, SCOTLAND – Farmers should remain watchful for Leatherjackets despite numbers crashing, advises the SRUC after its latest survey.

This follows two record years for the soil dwelling stage of the crane fly or ‘daddy-long-legs’ which eats grass roots.

Chemical controls are costly and environmentally damaging but should be used when necessary, advises SRUC ecologist Davy McCracken.

He warned that stewardship measures need to be observed for chlorpyrifos, the only permitted insecticide in the farm armoury for Leatherjackets.

He said: “If control measures are recommended for a particular field then whoever is applying them should remember the need to abide by 'Stewardship' measures for chlorpyrifos applications.

“When applying chlorpyrifos for leatherjacket control only fit LERAP rated 3 star nozzles to the sprayer and establish a no-spray buffer zone within 20 metres of watercourses or within 1 metre of dry ditches.

“This advice is a key part of the Stewardship ‘Say NO to drift’ initiative which aims to support the future availability and use of insecticides containing chlorpyrifos.”

The nature of 2015 being a “low risk year” means it is vital that fields are assessed, he added.

“This will confirm if there is a problem and what the culprit is.”

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