What are Crane Flies?
Crane Fly (Ceratophagoides fortis) is a small insect which lives in grasslands and shrubland. They have two wings with four legs each. Their body length varies from 2 mm to 4 mm. The adults are brownish green in color, but they may appear white when disturbed or under stress. They feed mainly on other insects such as aphids, mealybugs, scale insects and mites. They are not known to attack humans.
The larvae live in soil and feed on decaying organic matter. They grow up to a few millimeters long and feed on plant roots, stems, leaves and flowers.
The adult females lay eggs in the soil where they hatch into winged larvae within three days. After hatching, the larva develops inside the soil until it pupates after one month when it emerges as an adult.
They are very common in grassy areas and shrubs. They are also found in some gardens.
If you see them, they could be anywhere around your home or garden. Crane flies usually live indoors, but sometimes they venture out into the open air during warm weather. You will probably notice their presence if you have plants with young foliage like dahlias and sunflowers.
How To Get Rid Of Crane Flies?
Crane flies live in groups around gardens and their population is usually monitored by a few. If you have a large area of grass and bushes, this could attract crane flies to settle down and breed there. In most cases, they are not harmful. They do not bite or sting and they do not spread diseases. They are not known to damage property or crops. Most of the time they eat harmful insects and other crop pests.
If they are breeding in your gardens, there are a few measures you can use to get rid of them. The adult crane flies can be swatted and killed.
You can also spray them with insecticide to kill larger groups. The best way to get rid of them is to treat the soil around your garden with insecticides. You can also use natural predators such as nematodes and ground beetles which attack their larvae.
You can also use natural repellents to keep them from bothering you. Some of the best repellents include garlic, onion, pepper and mint.
You can make a spray using these ingredients to keep the crane flies away from your home and garden. Another alternative is to place flyscreen around windows and doors to prevent them from entering your house.
Does citronella repel crane flies?
Citronella is an essential oil which is a natural repellent. It can be diluted to make it less potent or you can use it as it is. Citronella can be applied on the skin or mixed with rubbing alcohol to make a spray.
In this article, we will look at how well does citronella repel crane flies?
Citronella has a strong smell which is not liked by insects. The smell can be compared to that of lemon grass. It can be mixed with other oils to make it more palatable. However, it is toxic to fish and other aquatic life. This means that it should not be sprayed near water bodies or in an environment where it can run off and get into the water. It is also harmful if consumed in large quantities. Most people use it on their skin as a mosquito repellent.
Citronella does not have any known adverse side effects when used on the skin in small quantities for short periods of time. It can be used by most people and is safe for children when diluted.
It is possible to develop an allergy to citronella, just like with other strong scents. Allergies are indicated by rashes, redness, swelling, itching or any other allergic reaction. If you notice an allergic reaction after using the repellent, stop using it immediately and seek medical attention if needed.
How To Use It?
Citronella can be mixed with other oils to make it more pleasant. If you have sensitive skin, you can mix a little coconut or almond oil to the pure citronella oil. The mixture should not be more than 20% of the carrier oil since pure citronella oil can be harsh on the skin and may cause an allergic reaction in some people.
To apply it on the skin, use the following method
Pour a small amount into the palm of your hand.
Apply a small quantity to your hands and then spread it on the skin. The citronella oil might stain clothing so you can apply it right before going to bed.
It is also not suitable for fabrics since it bleaches them. When applying directly to the skin, wash your hands immediately after application.
You should avoid the eyes, nose and other sensitive areas. If you get it in your eyes, you will experience stinging and burning.
Pouring a little quantity into the bath can relieve pain from arthritis and other joint pain problems. However, prolonged and repeated use can dry out the skin.
The smell of the oil might fade after some time but you can add a few drops of lavender oil to maintain its pleasant smell. You should avoid contact with the eyes.
Citronella candles are also available. These are porous stones that have been soaked in citronella oil.
They can be reused several times by adding more citronella oil as required. As with other home remedies, citronella candles are not very effective and don’t always work. You will need to place several candles around the house for it to be effective.
Insect repelling bands are also available. These are worn around the arms or ankles and claim to repel insects through an ingredient called geraniol.
Are There Any Side Effects?
It has no known side effects for the majority of people however, some might experience an allergic reaction to the citronella oil. Allergic reactions are usually identified by rashes, redness, swelling, itching or hives on the skin. If you notice any of these, stop using the repellent and seek medical attention if needed.
In addition, citronella oil can bleach fabrics so be sure to wash your clothes separately. It can also damage latex condoms and diaphragms.
If you are using either of the above, do not use citronella as a repellant or alternative.
Using it on the skin can have side effects such as skin irritation, redness or burning. In addition, it might bleach fabrics so you should keep them away from the oil.
Citronella can also react badly with some medicines. If you are using any kind of medication, consult your doctor before using this oil to make sure there are no interactions.
Sources & references used in this article:
The Crane-Fly Tipula (Tipula) Oleracea (Diptera: Tipulidae) Reported From Michigan; A New Pest of Turfgrass in Eastern North America. by JK Gelhaus – The Great Lakes Entomologist, 2005 – scholar.valpo.edu
Detection and establishment of the European crane flies Tipula paludosa Meigen and Tipula oleracea L.(Diptera: Tipulidae) in New York: a review of their distribution … by DC Peck, ER Hoebeke, C Klass – Proceedings of the entomological …, 2006 – cabdirect.org
Coping with crane flies in your lawn by C COX – Journal of pesticide reform, 2006 – bossod.com
1999 Western Washington Tipula oleracea Survey (Diptera: Tipulidae) by EH LaGasa, AL Antonelli – 1999 – agr.wa.gov
New species and records of crane flies (Diptera, Tipuloidea) from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina, USA by MJ Petersen, JK Gelhaus, EC Bernard – Transactions of the American …, 2004 – JSTOR
Distribution of adult stages of soil insect pests across an agricultural landscape by RP Blackshaw, H Hicks – Journal of pest science, 2013 – Springer
Impacts of climate on prey abundance account for fluctuations in a population of a northern wader at the southern edge of its range by JW PEARCE‐HIGGINS, P Dennis… – Global Change …, 2010 – Wiley Online Library
Application timing and efficacy of alternatives for the insecticidal control of Tipula paludosa Meigen (Diptera: Tipulidae), a new invasive pest of turf in the northeastern … by DC Peck, D Olmstead, A Morales – Pest Management Science …, 2008 – Wiley Online Library