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Crane Flies and Other Mosquito Imposters

Is it a giant mosquito? Will it bite me?

Here are the common insects that are not mosquitoes, but fool many people every year in the cities:

May contain: animal, insect, invertebrate, and mosquito

Crane Flies aka Mosquito Eaters

Size: Larger than a quarter - at least 2 inches in length

If it's bigger than a quarter, it's NOT a mosquito.
May contain: invertebrate, animal, insect, and mosquito

These long-legged insects will terrify anyone who thinks they're bloodsuckers. Contrary to popular belief, these are not mosquitoes. Crane flies are also called "mosquito eaters" or "mosquito hawks." But when viewed under a microscope, crane flies do not have any biting mouth parts!

They do not bite. They drink nectar for sustainance.

Crane flies are a sign of a healthy ecosystem. They usually emerge out of the soil when warm weather follows a rain event.

Next time you see a crane fly, wave it outside. Let’s save those wing-crushing blows for the real threat: mosquitoes.



Size: 1/4 inch - Approximately same size as most adult mosquitoes

Mosquitoes in cities are unlikely to swarm. If you see small insects swarming, they're most likely midges.
Midges belong to the family Chironomidae, which is part of the order Diptera (true flies).

Swarmers, not biters - This small insect is often confused with mosquitoes, but does not bite. They are routinely seen hovering in swarms on warm summer evenings. Our local mosquitoes in cities do not swarm in the same spot. Fortunately, midges do not make people sick but are considered nuisances.

One of the key differences between midges and mosquitoes is their mouthparts. Mosquitoes have piercing mouthparts called proboscis, which they use to suck blood from animals. In contrast, midges have short, non-piercing mouthparts and do not feed on blood. They primarily feed on nectar or plant fluids.

In our area, control measures are only necessary in extreme cases when the numbers of adult insects are high. This insect also breeds in flowing waters and tends to prefer the shallow, nutrient-rich waters found in the storm drain systems in our area.

As they are physiologically and genetically very similar to mosquitoes, the larvicidal agents used for mosquito control (insect growth regulators) also work well to control midge populations.