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After the recent rain, there appeared to be a lot of 'maggots' on our patio... horrible dirty brown large wriggling larvae. Having looked in books and on the net, they appear to be leather jackets... quite why they came onto the patio I don't know, never known it in 30 odd years of gardening, but we are in a new house.... The grass by the patio is very sparse and there were small holes where they obviously came up... I know you can put plastic sheeting over to draw to the surface, but it is very close to the house so birds wouldn't come this close to eat them and we have 2 cats and a dog and a toddler!  Is there any product that can be used safely with pets and children or any other advice anyone can offer?

Mollis, for now there is not a lot you can do.

In September you can use nematodes to control leather jackets to prevef this happening next year.

For now just brush up those grubs and dispose of them

Thanks Verdun.I expect that all of those Crane Flies will have hatched by then, I think they are June/September... Are the nematodes for the next generation? Will sweep off of the patio, if they come back up, but not easy to sweep moist grass

Yes, nematodes applied next September will control those feeding in the soil then.  

Thank you, they really seem to have played havoc on the grass, a lot of bare patches. Is there anything I can do in the meantime?



There is not much you can do at this time of year. nematode 'Steinernema feltiae' is the only good solution. Anything else is toxic to wildlife and carcinogenic to humans so DO NOT USE.

You can try covering small areas of lawn with black polythene overnight after heavy rain or irrigation. The grubs will come up onto the grass and you can removed them in the morning. The birds/badgers and hedgehogs love them but they will dig your lawn up in the process of finding them and this will defeat the object of a nice lawn.Compacting the soil using a heavy roller will make it harder for the grubs to move through it but again that defeats the object. Not much you can do at this time of year unfortunately. Remove as many as you can and apply nematodes later.




Thank you - much appreciated - will try to get as many of the beggars that I can - brooms as that ready  .


If you've got neighbours with chickens, have a go at sweeping them up and feeding them to the chickens - they love them.

Or maybe get a couple of chickens yourself?    Just an idea .................... 

Make sure you feed your lawn now though as if we get the summer the powers that be are promising your lawn will suffer with leather jackets as well one of my customers suffered really badly last summer but hopefully it's come through as it's looking really healthy at the moment. At least if you feed it now you are strengthening the roots to minimise the damage.

Thanks, I will give it a feed to help it along.... I would love chickens, but don't think they would last long with the cats around!  

I am watching two magpies systematically peck their way through my lawn depositing tufts of moss and grass. I first throught it was because over a very wet winter, lots of moss got into the lawn and the birds were using it for nesting but it is clear they are eating something and looking at this it must be leatherjackets or chafer beatles. Looking at the above it sounds like there is absolutely nothing I can do until mid summer other than feed the lawn and the use the black plastic sheeting. I may end up with Surrey's fattest magpies.....

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