Crane Flies

Crane Fly Identification Guide

Learn All About Crane Flies - Do They Really Eat Mosquitoes?

  Print Article By DoMyOwn staff


Overview

What Is A Crane Fly?

(Mosquito Hawk / Mosquito Eater)
Crane flies, often called European crane flies, resemble huge mosquitoes, and despite their alarming appearance, are actually completely harmless.

The crane fly larva are the stage of crane flies that cause damage to lawns, and this is where identification and control efforts should be focused.

Mosquito Eater? You may have heard crane flies called mosquito eaters or mosquito hawks. Contrary to popular belief, crane flies do not eat mosquitoes or bite humans. Adult crane flies only live a few days, and don't eat much of anything. Unfortunately, even though they look like giant mosquitoes, they will not eat any mosquitoes and cannot help you get rid of your mosquito population.


Appearance

Adult crane flies, which cause no damage to lawns and do not bite or sting, resemble large mosquitoes with very long legs.

Since the larval stage of crane flies cause damage, it is most important that you are able to identify the larva in your yard:

  • Larva resemble short, stout worms. They can also look like caterpillars at later stages of development, but they do not have legs.
  • They have a thick gray skin, and have the nickname "leatherjackets."
  • They can be as long as two inches
  • Feed on the crown and roots of your turf. Larvae hatch in the fall, begin to feed on the turf, and then overwinter in the soil. They will re-emerge to feed again in the spring when temperatures begin to warm up.

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