What is this Giant Mosquito that has invaded your house? The Crane Fly is most often mistaken for an extra large Mosquito flying around your porch lights; or inside clumsily bumping into walls as it is drawn to your interior lighting. They can be quite intimidating to see, due to their size, thus the nickname many have given to this species of “Mosquito Hawk”. Crane Flies are often spotted in the spring. Their large bodies and long leg span makes it very difficult for them to fly, so they seem to be flying with no purpose or control. The Crane Fly is identified by the appearance of a large mosquito, with bodies of up to three inches long, six long legs and one set of wings that can span two to three inches. The female has a thicker body, to accommodate eggs during mating and a tip at the end of their abdomen that looks like a stinger but is for laying eggs.
The Crane Fly has over 10,000 different species, but many share the same characteristics and life span. With an urban myth of being a mosquito eater, many species of the Crane Fly don’t even eat. They only have a lifespan of up to two weeks, and literally hatch to mate. Once a male and female have successfully mated, the female will lay up to two hundred eggs in water. Then the male and female die within a two week period. They generally live around lakes, rivers, streams and wet swampy areas. So the eggs hatch in two to three weeks under water and then live underground as they eat and develop through their stages of life. This is when the Crane Fly does it’s only eating. During the larvae stage they are called leather jackets due to their appearance, and they feed heavily on wood, roots, grass, flowers and other vegetation. They need this food in order to become adults and sustain them for the two week period of life they will have as a non eating adult. The Crane Fly larvae develop into pupae that feed for two months before they make a cocoon to overwinter by hibernating until they hatch in spring. The newly hatched adults then begin this new but very short lifespan.
With such a short lifespan, what is the purpose of the Crane Fly? As with many things in nature, it is simply the food chain that this insect seems to contribute its existence to. Birds, other insects and fish are happy to use the dead bodies of the Crane Fly as a source of food. Living close to many streams and rivers, the Crane Fly is such a popular food source to trout that many flies and lures have been made for use by fisherman. With the Crane Fly having such a large diameter of fully extended legs, light weight and fine hairs on its structure, it can actually land on water without sinking. This is when the trout can dart in for the meal, and they do, dead or alive. The dead bodies of Crane Flies that do not get eaten also contribute to the eco system of forests by decomposing into the ground to make rich soil for plant growth.
It seems to be such a short life with the sole reason for living, is to mate for a next generation. However, many things in our environment benefit from this clumsy fly that is commonly mistaken for a large mosquito. So, don’t be afraid when you have a Crane Fly bumping around the house, this harmless insect cannot bite and is only using its short life to find a mate.
The Crane Fly is not a Nashville Pest Control issue; however the insect that it is most mistaken for, the mosquito, definitely is. So if you have Mosquitoes that are bothering you around your home, please call Certified Pest Control Nashville to identify your problem areas and define a treatment plan to reduce this pesky biter. Our family is always happy to help, so give Certified Pest Control a call for the personal service you deserve.