That inch-long, gangly-legged insect that sneaks into your house and bounces around the walls and ceiling is a crane fly, and despite rumors to the contrary, it is neither a predator of mosquitoes nor a colossal mosquito. And it's harmless.
Although the Internet abounds with reports of adult crane flies biting or stinging, they do neither.
"There has yet to be found a predatory adult crane fly," said Matthew Bertone, PhD, a crane fly specialist and extension associate with the North Carolina State University Department of Entomology. "They just don't have the mouthparts for it. So no, none are blood-feeding, and none of them attack people."
The 15,000 or so known true crane flies in the family Tipulidae also share a somewhat similar appearance to mosquitoes. They have a narrow body with two long and slender wings, as well as six stilt-like legs that can be twice as long as the body. Crane flies are diverse in wing pattern, color, and size.
The Crane fly may be harmless but their larvae can cause turf damage. Crane fly larvae are long, white, worm-like insects measuring up to 1 ½ inches (3 cm.) long. They feed on the roots below turf grass lawns, killing crowns and causing brown patches that mar otherwise perfect seas of green grass. Crane fly larvae may also emerge to feed on crowns and grass blades on warm nights, further damaging lawns. Most turf species can tolerate low to medium sized populations of crane fly larvae, but high feeding pressure can spell disaster.
If you are seeing holes in your lawn and suspect you may have an issue, contact TDI for a service call to have your technician come and inspect you lawn.
Call us: Madison, Huntsville/ Cullman-Smith Lake/ Quad Cities: (256) 461-6909
Birmingham area residents call: (205) 426-6909