How to Identify Crane Flies

Crane Fly or Mosquito Hawk Information


What do they look like?

image of a crane fly

  • Color: Adult crane flies are black, red, or yellow in color, depending on species.
  • Size: Crane flies may be mistaken at times for mosquitoes, but they are significantly larger with extremely long legs and have elongated faces.
  • Wings: Crane fly wings may be transparent, brown, grayish-black or brownish-yellow. Some crane flies rest with extended wings, while others fold their wings flat.
  • Females: Female crane flies have extended abdomens, which house eggs and are capped with an ovipositor. Although these ovipositors appear similar to stingers, they are harmless and are only used for reproductive purposes.

How Did I Get Crane Flies?

In the fall and spring, lawns near wooded areas or open fields often have a population of crane flies. In their mature form, the adult females lay eggs in grass. Dampness and heavy rainfall increase their numbers.

How Serious Are Crane Flies?

Only in their larval state do these pests cause any real damage. After they hatch, crane fly larvae eat grass crowns and roots, leaving large brown patches on lawns. As adults, the insects are mostly a nuisance.

Mature crane flies often annoy residents when they fly into homes and bump against the walls or ceilings. Although they look like giant mosquitoes, the pests do not bite people or feed on blood. Since adult crane flies only live a few days, an entire generation may perish at the same time, creating foul-smelling piles of dead insects on sidewalks and driveways.

How Do I Get Rid of Crane Flies?

Your local Orkin technician is trained to help manage crane flies and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep crane flies in their place...out of your home, or business.


Behavior, Diet & Habits

What Do They Eat?

Adults feed on nectar from flowers or other outdoor plants. Crane flies lay their eggs in the ground, where larvae feed on decaying wood and vegetation.

Where Do They Live?

Adult crane flies prefer to dwell in wet, mossy, old and open woodlands. Crane flies survive for several days, with most species living only long enough to complete the reproductive cycle.

More Information

Some Common names for crane flies include:

  • Jimmy spinners
  • Mosquito hawks
  • Mosquito eaters
  • Mosquito nippers
  • Gollywhoppers
  • Gallinippers

Although they are known as daddy long legs in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Ireland, and New Zealand, they are not at all similar to the arachnid that goes by the same name in the United States.