Beneficial Organism of the Week 2

This week it’s a bird, and you might be surprised that it’s a non-native, obnoxious one: STARLINGS!

Starlings foraging for crane fly larvae and (likely) other soil insects in my parking strip

Mostly starlings are considered pests, ever since that guy that thought it was a good idea to import every animal Shakespeare mentioned into North America did, in fact, import them.

Crane fly larva from “Crane fly pests of the US” WSU Whatcom Extension, WSDA, EPA. Author Sharon Collman, entomologist educator extraordinaire.

But one good thing about flocks of starlings with robins mixed in (credit where it’s due), is they roam around and clean lawn, turf, grass – that stuff you have to mow all the time – of crane fly larvae. Larvae, not adult flies, eat grass roots.

Some people get quite upset if they think they have crane flies in their lawn, but it turns out, almost everyone does, and usually they aren’t a big deal, unless your lawn has other problems, and the numbers of larvae are astronomical. ).

One reason the larvae numbers don’t spike is, of course, that starlings and robins eat them. So next time you see them combing through your grass, take a moment to watch the spectacle!

Read about all things crane fly HERE.

Crane fly

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