Daddy long legs to swarm homes after washout summer created breeding ground
BRITS are being warned a PLAGUE of crane flies are hatching this autumn – after the cool, damp summer created ideal breeding conditions.
Billions of the two-inch-wide, spindly-limbed bugs – commonly called Daddy Long Legs – are ascending from their underground nests in vast numbers and are swarming out of their burrows.
Families who leave windows and doors ajar risk the bugs flying in and flitting around the living room.
The good news is the creatures are completely harmless and do not sting.
But it's bad news for farmers because the larva of an insect before it hatches – also called leather jackets – munch the roots of wheat and other crops.
They're also known to wreck lovingly-manicured lawns and flower beds, and indirectly cause mayhem because birds, specially rooks and crows, love to eat larvae and peck away at the soil to unearth them.
The origin of their name is not known, but some people think it may have arisen from the name of a novel called Daddy Long-legs, written in 1912 by Jean Webster.
The book is about a young orphan who has an anonymous benefactor whom she calls Daddy Long-legs because he is very tall.
The name 'Daddy Long Legs' is used to refer to several different spiders, most often a crane fly, a cellar spider and harvestmen – however, the crane fly is not in fact a spider.
The Sun recently reported the best nine spider catchers to purchase as you prepare for possible infestations this autumn.
Daddy Long Legs facts
- Once they hatch and take to the wing, they live for only two weeks – they mate and die within a few days
- They are an important source of food for birds, beetles and spiders
- They can do good as well as harm – their larvae eat decaying plant material and help to recycle nutrients into the soil
- Adults are thought not to feed during their short lifespans
- Some people believe daddy-long-legs are venomous, but they are unable to bite humans
- Crane flies do not have venom, but the name daddy-long-legs is also used for spiders known as cellar spiders, which do have venom glands, although it is not known whether they are harmful to human beings
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