Mosquitos on steroids!
Nope, none of the above. What you may be seeing are Crane Flies.
Crane Flys, also called tipples, come from the family Tipulidae and are often mistaken for giant mosquitos. However, unlike the pesky, disease-carrying mosquitos, crane flies do not bite.
Both insects enjoy the same wet habitats. However, a crane fly lives most of its life as larvae eating on decaying leaf matter and wood, which is beneficial for the ecosystem. The crane fly emerges near the end of its life, searching for a mate.
If you think you recognize these insects, remember the last time you left on an outside light and saw these giant mosquito-looking bugs sitting around. Crane flies are nocturnal and fly very little conserving energy for mating.
Because they do not eat, they also do not bite, making the crane fly entirely harmless to humans and animals.
According to AZ Animals, their size is the easiest way to tell the difference. Mosquitos are under ½” long and have two pairs of wings. A crane fly is much larger, averaging 1 ½” in length, and has one pair of wings with legs about twice the size of their bodies. The crane fly is also not very adept at flying, and you will see them bumping into things.
So please, when you are out, do not kill these insects. They will not harm you, and they have a purpose in our complex ecosystem—mosquitos; on the other hand, I have yet to see a use for them.
Check out our last week’s blog on insect repellent and alternatives to the chemical-laden varieties.