Crane Flies: “Mosquito Eaters” That Don’t Eat Mosquitoes

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You know those gigantic four-legged freaks that fly in your face and swoop about like drunken B-52 bombers? On the West Coast, they’re referred to as “Mosquito Eaters,” in other areas, “Mosquito Hawks.” In reality these things are called crane flies, and no, they do not eat mosquitoes. In fact, adult crane flies don’t eat at all. They mature only to reproduce and die quickly thereafter. The grubs feed on decaying plant life in the soil. Crane flies carry no venom, and do not bite. Because they don’t eat, they can’t do anything dazzling enough to be considered a pest; except of course in the sense of annoyance. And seeing as summer is the season of this winged nuisance, they should be polluting your home in no time, if they haven’t already.

I for one hate crane flies. I wish they would vanish from the earth. I can’t sleep knowing one is dancing about my room, as I anticipate that it will fly into my mouth at any given moment. The only real purpose they seem to serve is as a food source for certain species of birds. Go figure.

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80 Responses to Crane Flies: “Mosquito Eaters” That Don’t Eat Mosquitoes

  1. candice May 4, 2008 at 5:43 pm #

    They do eat mosquitoes.I’ve seen it.

    • W. B. September 19, 2010 at 11:33 pm #

      I believe I once observed a crane-fly snatch and consume a mosquito mid-flight as well.

  2. melissa May 6, 2008 at 7:40 pm #

    I wish they did eat mosquitoes. NO, they just fly in your face when you open the damn door. I agree, I hate these damn things. God, I hate them.

  3. stacey June 2, 2008 at 2:37 pm #

    they eat mosquito larvae

  4. katie and amanda June 28, 2008 at 8:10 pm #

    we found this bug on our car..and it kinda looks like it. but who knows for sure.

    Discription: yellow and black torso & tail, its yellow and the black looks like a ” M ”
    anbody know? if so comment back
    peace

  5. nikki July 14, 2008 at 7:01 pm #

    i hate them too! in fact i just killed around 4 today and one within the last 5 minutes, im keeping my doors shut from now on …i hate themmm

  6. Hana August 10, 2008 at 11:55 am #

    I always called the ‘vampires’ as a kid, because they looked like enormous mosquitoes, and I had the biggest fear of them. My parents though that funny so they did not correct me.

  7. Metriah February 21, 2009 at 10:04 pm #

    I always thought they were mosquitoes wow good to know!!

    • Margo May 19, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

      Dork

    • joe May 13, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

      WOW those are some big Mosquitoes squiting everywhere

    • The Oldest July 2, 2013 at 2:27 am #

      Did they ever land on you and start sucking your damn blood?…

      Didn’t think so

  8. Maiya March 18, 2009 at 1:21 am #

    UGH! I can’t stand them! I just killed 1, and I killed about 8 the other night, and there is another one in my room. I kinda feel bad to kill them if they won’t bite me but I don’t want to take any chances, like you said, they are ANNOYING!!! I too want them to vanish from the world.

  9. Danielle March 19, 2009 at 10:31 pm #

    I thought they did eat mosquitos. Not that I’ve ever seen them do much but sit on the wall or bounce against the ceiling light. Ugh, there is always one flying around in my room, circling my light. Every night…. I HATE them… Seems like they always aim for my hair which just freaks me out! I now keep my door closed, light off. They are annoying. Stupid useless bug.

  10. Angela March 20, 2009 at 11:37 pm #

    Oh yeah, these little buggers…grrr…I just found out what they really were tonight via online…I thought they were mosquitoes too, but when one is stalking me in my own home…well there I draw the line! It flew in while doing laundry, chased me…literally through my house, then hid from me, waiting, till I walked by and it dive bombed me like 10 times in one hour!! I drown in in my bathroom sink…I hope, after hitting it with a towel, they r not easy to catch, in fact very hard. What the hell!! I oh so hate these things and wish they would die off before they get this freakin big. Creapy!! Ewww!!! YUCK!!!

    • Broski January 31, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

      You do realize that these things are notorious in the animal kingdom as being BAD fliers, right? As in, they are very easy to catch.

      • joe May 13, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

        LMA who would have thought

  11. Brian March 27, 2009 at 8:16 pm #

    Hrm, you should sleep with your mouth closed then ;)

    I don’t particularly mind them, but they do kinda get everywhere.

  12. awpoopy March 30, 2009 at 8:12 am #

    I have seen them eating an adult mosquito at least twice, in at least two different states.

    • Paul May 16, 2013 at 10:18 am #

      Odd.. because they don’t eat as adults. Maybe you thought they ate a mosquito?

  13. Mariah April 15, 2009 at 9:17 am #

    So far, I’ve heard several sites say that these crane flies(which are currently inhabiting my house) eat nothing put pollen and plant soil. But on every site, there’s a couple of people who promise that they do. How annoying. I wonder if I’ll ever know for sure.

  14. Kurt April 16, 2009 at 11:33 pm #

    I’ve seen these things eat bugs in my bathroom. Never seen it eat a mosquito, but I’m pretty sure they could.

  15. Hannah April 18, 2009 at 12:14 am #

    omg its so gross i saw to reproducing in my room.ewewewewewew

    • anya March 15, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      i no it really gross i saw like 3 of them reproducing in 1 day

  16. Marc April 19, 2009 at 9:34 pm #

    I bough one of those cheap tennis-racket shaped battery powered bug zappers from Harbor Freight (in CA – not sure where else they are), for 2.99, and let me tell you, revenge is sweet! I too, like the rest of you, have been stalked and dive-bombed by those bastards many a time, but now, with the large-ish area of the racket zapper, us humans have a fighting chance…viva la resistance!!!

    • Margo May 19, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

      We use old wet socks to kill them….

      • Jim June 6, 2011 at 3:27 am #

        I kill them mid air.

        With my face.

      • The Oldest July 2, 2013 at 2:25 am #

        Wtf?… Who is going to hang damn stinky a** socks in there house? Not me. I actually want ppl to think I’m normal when them come over….

    • Broski January 31, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

      Probably the best comment on this whole article. Fight on, brotha.

  17. Paul April 20, 2009 at 10:51 pm #

    You know what you guys, my father is a crane fly and I don’t appreciate you guys jabbing him.

  18. Whatthehell April 20, 2009 at 10:56 pm #

    It makes you wonder–if evolution is true then why the hell haven’t these things learned to frickin eat after 6 days? And do something? Stupid.

    • Broski January 31, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

      That’s a pretty easy answer.

      They reproduce, have kids, and those kids reproduce. After that, those kids also reproduce, and then their kids reproduce as well.

      Interesting right?

  19. Nick April 21, 2009 at 12:53 am #

    I have one dancing in my room.. It wouldn’t leave, but it flew over me and I put my blanket over my head and made a yelping noise. I have serious issues for hating these things so, but I canna sleep with it in my room…. aaggh…. I hate craneflies, spiders, and %85 of bugs except for dragonflies and butterflies and ladybugs… I “wiggle” when I see them. I know I Have issues.

  20. bug guy April 21, 2009 at 12:33 pm #

    raise chickens!!!

  21. Chris April 26, 2009 at 10:49 pm #

    Once again who do you believe? THe guy who posted something or the guys who commented under the post saying the opposite.

    I for one wish the INTERNET would go away!!!

    When I was a kid and first saw one of these, I thought it was a flying daddy long legs, which at the time I thought was a real spider so I was very afraid…

    • Broski January 31, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

      Damn son you had it bad. I just thought they killed mosquitoes my whole childhood but eventually found out otherwise.

  22. Jason August 29, 2009 at 8:39 pm #

    They are slow and dumb. I grab them and toss them out the window. I only kill bugs that bite or are a pain to catch.

    • Broski January 31, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

      This is probably the same guy who screams in fear every time he sees one of those things fly at him.

  23. deanna September 18, 2009 at 12:46 am #

    oh my goodness. im from the east coast and they dont have “mosquito eaters” ever since i moved to the west they are everywhere! they look just like mosquitos and they look nasty! ugh..

  24. A.J March 23, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    I’m from the West and we’ve never had these bugs until last year. I HATE them, whenever I see them i run and hide under a blanket and scream. I’ve never seen them eat, reproduce or anything, I just know they’re a pain in the neck. I kill at least 10 every night.GRRRRR! I’m glad there’s bug spray!

  25. pandy March 24, 2010 at 12:04 am #

    i have millions of them in my house, my daughter likes them because she said they are flying ballerinas and while they dont eat enough to make it worth it, they do eat mosquito larvae, every little bit helps, just wish they would die in a more convenient place like the garbage

  26. DDDDDD April 6, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    I wish they ate mosquitos!!! At least they’d be usefull. I hate them. My 22 month old thinks it’s fun to bring them to me and say “mess, mess, mess?!?!”

  27. I HATE THESE THNGS!!!!!!! April 20, 2010 at 11:13 pm #

    AH!!!!! REALLY THESE THINGS. TODAY THERE IS 1 OF THEM IN MY ROOM! MY SISTER IS SCARED OF BUGS… SHE YELLED HER HEAD OFF WHEN SHE CAME ACROSS 1 OF THESE THINGS!SHE ALWAYS TELLS ME 2 KILL IT. BUT I JUST DONT WANT TO :D I WISH THESE THINGS WOULD MOVE OUT OF THE ROOM!!!!!

  28. judith dalmeyer April 25, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

    Crane flies, the spastic long-legged bugs the OP is taking about, DO NOT eat mosquitos. (They don’t really eat anything.)

    Dragon flies DO eat mosquitoes.

    Both crane flies and dragon flies can be referred to as “mosquito hawks”, which is why some of the posters here have seen “mosquito hawks” eating mosquitoes.

    • Broski January 31, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

      informative.

  29. the kidd April 26, 2010 at 11:39 pm #

    I kill over 10 in a minute!

    • the kidd April 26, 2010 at 11:43 pm #

      Have any of you tried getting a bug-zapper?
      They work like a charm.

    • The Oldest July 2, 2013 at 2:11 am #

      That my friend is an infestation

  30. Laura June 2, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

    I’ve called them “Charlie’s” since I was a kid. They don’t hurt anyone, why does everyone hate them so much??? I cup them gently in the palm of my hand and let them go free back outside if they sneak into the house.

    • Phram Snuffner June 20, 2010 at 11:28 pm #

      SEEEEEE….. ? ? ? ? ? no harm no foul !!

  31. Phram Snuffner June 20, 2010 at 11:27 pm #

    I am an atheist and pro choice.. but seriously.. “forgive them, for they do not know what they do..” It’s life.. now snuff it out and wonder why nothing on this planet works. All you teenagers need to look up the word E-C-O-L-O-G-Y . . .
    just kidding

    • Dr. Awesome September 1, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

      Abortion is wrong you sick bastard.

    • Spencer November 9, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

      Why say ‘just kidding?’ Most of my classmates in High School haven’t the faintest idea of the existence of that word. Crane flies are adorable, and as a Wiccan, I feel killing them is against Mother Earth. Female Mosquitoes are satan incarnate, I will agree to that. But killing Crane flies is pointless and mean. They are not annoying nor harming. They don’t make noise, and by the time you see them as adult fliers, they will die soon. Let them go outside, and watch them be silly as they fly. It will make you smile, if you just learn to see the cuteness of their flight patterns. Really. What does it accomplish by squishing them? *sigh* *watches the silly one in the corner of the room*

  32. Rudy March 31, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    Oh, that’s a relief! Except for the flying-into-the-mouth part. That’s kinda creepy.

    • Broski January 31, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

      Just consider it a midnight snack.

  33. Jacob Williams April 13, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

    It seems that those who eat a lot of garlic are less attractive to the mosquitoes. Also taking B complex seems to leave a smell on the skin they don’t like. Shalimar perfume, on the other hand, they LOVE.

  34. Teri Stoddard May 3, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    I once saw a bird swoop down within a few feet of my face and grab a large moth for lunch. So even though I’m very disappointed that they don’t eat mosquitoes, I’m glad they serve a purpose.

  35. Pilar Lara August 25, 2011 at 2:59 am #

    There are really a lot of definitions of mosquito eaters. However, I find this very interesting.

  36. Spankenstine September 1, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

    That is good to know, though I most certainly have never seen one sucking blood! If you are old enough and smart enough to use a computer and the internet, I would think you would know that thoes big clumsy bugs flying about your house all your life arent, in fact, not mosquitos. I do not like crane flys, though there are currently five of them flying about my room. Well actually, four. I just killed one! :].

    • Spankenstine September 1, 2011 at 11:38 pm #

      Err, I meant are not arent.

    • Spencer November 9, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

      why kill them? they are silly and cute to watch fly.

  37. Mindy September 12, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    We have these pest by the thousands.The only funny part is they aren’t shy where or when they mate.My dogs love to chase and catch them. But mostly how do we get rid of them .

  38. Marcinho Savant February 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    SUMMER!?!?!?! It’s February 7th and I’ve got a platoon of them in my garage right NOW! :-P

    • Ken February 25, 2012 at 1:13 am #

      I just got a crane fly rubbing his long stupid tail in my face while I’m surfing the web

    • Spencer November 9, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

      Different climate areas have different seasonal periods for species. In Florida, it’s almost yearly.

  39. Justin April 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    you know how when bugs die they give of a certain smell to alert other bugs to attack? Well I was getting ready to take a shower and I swatted like 50 mosquito’s, and opened the shower curtain and all I can see is this giant mosquito look alike in my shower and I was like ‘Oh S**t…’ I now have like 5 crane flies flying around my room. No sleep for me tonight.

  40. Cynthia Justice, Asheville,NC May 20, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    The picture you have is of a mosquito, not a cranefly. I can’t imagine ANYONE hating such an innocent insect. I have never had one come inside, actually never seen one fly. They are just hanging on vertical surfaces around here.

  41. lalalalalalalaala May 26, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    Last night i was laying in my bed and like 3 of them flew onto my face and hair… i had enough at 2 in the morning…. so i had to sleep in my brothers room, which has no insects. It was fine until this morning i went into my room, thinking it was safe, then one hit me in the face again. In all occurences i never saw them, they just hit me and flew away. I had a spaz attack because one of them touched me again and my dad yelled at me. Ever since last night ive been extremely paranoid. Like if anything touched me, i jump. Im scared to go in my own room now. Its funny you know, like you know theyre harmless but youre scared of them and annoyed by them.

  42. Shirly June 10, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    On Wikipedia its explained that before they change into adults to greed, they eat Mosquito larva.

    • Shirly June 10, 2012 at 8:40 am #

      I meant to spell breed.

  43. p.kitty July 15, 2012 at 4:50 am #

    You hit the nail on the head with that.

  44. P.Kitty July 15, 2012 at 7:40 am #

    Them nasty dangley legged, useless insects that make a b-line through my open front door (caused by boyfriends plot to rid me through crane flies ) right straight for ME like some suicide psycho as I run screaming bloody murder down the hall! Kill em’ all I say!! Stupid crane flies, my boyfriend said.

  45. Laurie Evans October 4, 2012 at 5:08 am #

    OOOOHHH i hate them to seriously it could send me to the loony bin. They come in and go straight to dive bombing you then if you try to kill them the hide behind pictures on your wall and shit for hours uuggghhh and they grow sooooo huge its disgusting.I wish bugs would stay away from me then i would leave them alone….

  46. LBP friend March 28, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    I found one dead while I was doing laundry.I took its wings off & identified it in my microscope. It was so COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  47. Bobbie Jo Birchard April 2, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    We use the Dustbuster and suck them up from the front porch every night. Works great!

  48. Jman May 10, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    Theres 1 In my house so Im not opening my door

  49. Jman May 10, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

    Im so thirsty But who knows Where it is…..atleast by the mornin it will be dead

  50. The Oldest July 2, 2013 at 2:21 am #

    I don’t understand why everyone hates them… They done nothing to me… And I’ve seen one eating a mosquito… I find them a lil helpful…. Y’all who run and hide under your blankets when you see them peaceful creatures are p*****…. You need to get out more because there are more dangerous things than a Cran Fly… It’s like saying I run in fear when I see a baby kitten… Sure they are not as cute but who cares… They are not going to kill you

  51. The Oldest July 2, 2013 at 2:30 am #

    But if one thing in our food chain vanishes.. Then the whole ecosystem will suffer… You don’t know how many animals rely on them to keep them fead…

  52. Kayoss July 15, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    These comments cracked me up. Of course we are all on here because they are currently buzzing us when the comments were written. I have always liked them. Probably because growing up I thought they ate mosquitos and in Northern MN, we need all the help we can get! Now I live in WA and there are more mosquito eaters than mosquitos. Fair trade in my opinion! I am glad to know that I’m not killing them when I don’t get them outside. There was a monster one in here yesterday. If they only live 6 days and don’t eat, why are some so much bigger than others? I’ll google it tomorrow. :-)

  53. lorraine September 25, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    i think i will find out where to buy a burkha to put over my face at night so i do not accidentally eat them or anything else. lol.

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