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Please be sure to read the product label of any insecticide you choose to use to get information on the personal protective safety gear you will need. In most situations, it is recommended that you wear long pants, a long sleeved shirt, closed toe shoes with socks, chemical resistant gloves, and goggles. In areas where ventilation is poor, a manufacturer may recommend you wear a mask or a respirator. We have put together two different safety kits that will make selecting the correct safety gear easier for you.

Crane Fly Identification Guide

Learn All About Crane Flies - Do They Really Eat Mosquitoes?

By DoMyOwn staff

What Is A Crane Fly?

(Mosquito Hawk / Mosquito Eater)
Image of a crane fly
Crane flies, often called European crane flies, resemble huge mosquitoes, and despite their alarming appearance, are actually completely harmless.

The crane fly larva are the stage of crane flies that cause damage to lawns, and this is where identification and control efforts should be focused.

Mosquito Eater? You may have heard crane flies called mosquito eaters or mosquito hawks. Contrary to popular belief, crane flies do not eat mosquitoes or bite humans. Adult crane flies only live a few days, and don't eat much of anything. Unfortunately, even though they look like giant mosquitoes, they will not eat any mosquitoes and cannot help you get rid of your mosquito population.


Image of the crane flu life cycle

Graphic of crane fly larvae anatomy
Adult crane flies, which cause no damage to lawns and do not bite or sting, resemble large mosquitoes with very long legs.

Since the larval stage of crane flies cause damage, it is most important that you are able to identify the larva in your yard:

  • Larva resemble short, stout worms. They can also look like caterpillars at later stages of development, but they do not have legs.
  • They have a thick gray skin, and have the nickname "leatherjackets."
  • They can be as long as two inches
  • Feed on the crown and roots of your turf. Larvae hatch in the fall, begin to feed on the turf, and then overwinter in the soil. They will re-emerge to feed again in the spring when temperatures begin to warm up.

If you have Crane Flies in your yard, check out our guide on how to get rid of crane flies to learn about your treatment options.

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