For some, the term “mosquito hawk” probably conjures up an image of a large, majestic bird soaring through the air and sweeping over bodies of water to gobble up mosquitoes in one bite. However, the reality is that “mosquito hawk” is just another term for crane fly.
Many people see the insect above and think it’s a giant mosquito. Others welcome its presence because they believe crane flies eat mosquitoes. A crane fly is actually a harmless insect that merely resembles the mosquito, due to its long, narrow body and six lengthy legs. Similar features cast aside, crane flies can be very diverse in their wing pattern, color, and overall size. In discussing the traits and habits of crane flies with experts, Entomology Today has confirmed that crane flies are not predators because their mouths are not built to bite or suck blood.
So if they don’t feed off of people and they don’t eat mosquitoes, what is the crane fly’s purpose? Well, for the crane fly specifically, their purpose is to mate and procreate. Their larvae (commonly called “leatherjackets”) are often found under layers of wet soil and leaves. They take cover there in the fall and winter but will then emerge in the spring to feed off the above-ground part of plants. During the late summer and fall, adults will emerge to mate and the process will start over again.
In terms of a crane fly's environmental purpose, they are an important form of sustenance for birds, mammals, small fish, and spiders. Next time one stumbles its way inside your home, simply scoop it up, place it outside, and allow nature to run its course.
Call the pros to help you fight off a mosquito invasion this Spring. Contact your local Mosquito Squad today!