Are Those Giant Mosquitoes? No, They’re Harmless Crane Flies

What are those extra-large mosquitoes that you’ve been seeing lately? Mosquitoes bite and carry disease—do these bugs also? 

No need to fear. Those monstrous mosquito-lookalikes are just crane flies. 

Adult crane flies, with their extra-long legs, may look alarming, but they’re harmless, so don’t fret if a swarm crops up your area in the spring or fall. At worst, their larvae may eat your grass, and even that is not very common across Ohio.

What Are Crane Flies?

Crane flies are not a type of mosquito, although they look similar. They are a type of fly and are much bigger than a mosquito, with a wingspan of about 1 inch, and they have extremely long, delicate legs. Their larvae resemble 1-inch legless grubs (or maggots) and are nicknamed “leatherjackets” due to their tough, brown skin. Both adults and larvae are attracted to wet, wooded areas and thatch. 

Do Crane Flies Bite?

Unlike mosquitoes, crane flies do not bite. Their mouthparts aren’t capable of biting or sucking blood—phew! Adults may feed on nectar, but many don’t live long enough to eat at all. With a lifespan of just three to five days, most adult crane flies have just enough time to complete the reproductive cycle before they die. 

Myths About Crane Flies

In the U.S., crane flies are sometimes referred to as “mosquito hawks” or “mosquito eaters,” and that leads people to believe that they prey on mosquitoes, which isn’t true. Outside the U.S., crane flies are nicknamed “daddy longlegs,” which gets them confused with the spiders, and crane flies aren’t poisonous in the least.

Why the Huge Swarms?

Some seasons bring more crane flies than others. They can be especially numerous in a spring that follows a mild, wet winter. Swarms of crane flies can be a nuisance, especially if they keep finding their way inside your home—leaving bits of their legs and wings behind as they bump around—or if they die in large numbers and their corpses pile up. Thankfully, though, you don’t have to worry about the adults doing damage to your person or property.

Larvae May Munch Your Lawn

In their larval state, crane flies have chewing mouthparts, and they can eat away at your green growth, leaving brown spots on grass. This is especially true of species that are non-native to Ohio, such as Marsh and European crane flies, which thrive mostly in the northern part of the state near Lake Erie. 

Native crane flies eat dead plant matter, which actually assists in decomposition and won’t disturb living plants. But non-native species do eat green growth, such as blades of grass, and that’s what can lead to landscaping headaches.

Do I Need a Professional Exterminator?

Adult crane flies aren’t considered pests and don’t require professional extermination. For a healthy lawn, check for larvae in the early fall right after they hatch or in early spring before they begin to eat your sprouts. If a swarm takes over your yard, making it impossible to enjoy time outdoors, then give us a call. We can suggest ways to get rid of them and prevent them from returning.

We’ve Got You Covered

While crane flies don’t always require a professional, ScherZinger Pest Control is still standing by for all of your other pest control needs from mosquitoes to termites to bed bugs. ScherZinger Pest Control is a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton and Columbus. We’ve been pioneers who have engineered new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website or Facebook.