I have a super large mosquito buzzing around me, is it trying to bite me, what is it? Crane flies are large insects that closely resemble mosquitoes. They can be very scary looking, particularly if they find their way into your home and start flying around terrorizing everyone. Are they dangerous? No, crane flies are completely harmless. They have a variety of names including “Mosquito Killer”, “Mosquito Hawk”, “Mosquito Eater”, “Skeeter Eater”, “Gallinipper” and others. They do not eat mosquitoes or any other bugs. The adult crane flies eat very little and mostly just nectar.
What are Orange Mosquitoes?
Orange mosquitoes, or Invasive Aedes mosquitoes as they are most commonly known, first arrived in California in 2001 on shipments from China. However, it wasn’t until 2011 that orange mosquitoes became prevalent in the Santa Clara area, California.
Orange mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as chikungunya, dengue and zika, but these orange mosquitoes have not been linked to any outbreaks in California. Through cutting-edge technology, it has been proposed to introduce sterile male mosquitoes into the orange mosquito population. This gene modification will mate with the female and in turn drive down the population.
If you need a pest control professional to control the orange mosquitoes in your area, contact Planet Orange.
What are Crane Flies?
Crane flies are primitive flies belonging to the Order Diptera and the Family Tipulidae. There are many different species, some are large and others are quite small. The ones that commonly scare people are about an inch long, with a narrow body and very long legs that can exceed an inch in length. The wings are long and narrow.
Adult female crane flies usually contain eggs when she emerges from the pupa and often immediately mates with a male if one is available. They often mate while flying. Once the eggs are laid, the adult males and females have a life span of up to two weeks. The eggs are laid in water, in dry soil and occasionally dropped from the air. The eggs are black in color.
The larvae are grayish brown in color and are cylindrical shaped. They are often called “Leatherjackets”. The larvae commonly are found in moist areas such as woodlands and around streams. They are found under layers of decomposing leaves and in compost piles.
Habitat of Crane Flies:
Some species of Crane Flies are aquatic and some occur in open fields, dry areas including desert environments. A few species can feed on the roots of forage crops and turf grasses. Most species feed on decaying organic matter. They can be important in the soil ecosystem as they process organic material. They are, both in the larval stage and as adults, valuable food for many animals including insects, spiders, fish, frogs, toads, birds and some mammals.
Because of their size they can cause panic attacks if they come in your house. They are attracted to light as many insects are and they will fly in an open window or door and start running into walls and furniture. As mentioned, they are medically harmless and do not carry Zika, but can be psychologically scary.
How to get rid of Crane Flies:
Large numbers may show up and rest on plants and the sides of your house if you live near an area where they may breed. Follow these steps to get rid of Crane Flies:
- Closing Doors and Windows: Make sure all of your windows and doors are closed and that all window and door screens are in good repair.
- Leave outside lights off during the evening. This won’t guarantee you will never see a crane fly in your house, but it certainly reduces the odds.
- Clean your lawn: Cleaning your lawn regularly can help reduce the crane flies infestation as these species feed on decomposing materials.
- Use Organic Pesticides: Organic Pesticides are very helpful in getting rid of larvae. Organic pesticides should be spread two to three times around the house.
Crane Flies should be considered beneficial insects, as the adult flies are harmless and their biology is such that they contribute to the ecosystem because the larvae (leatherjackets) feed on decaying organic material and help in the decomposition process.