What Are Crane Flies?

What Are Crane Flies?

Crane Flies

Crane flies, also known as mosquito hawks or daddy longlegs, are insects belonging to the family Tipulidae. They are often mistaken for giant mosquitoes due to their long, slender bodies and delicate wings. However, unlike mosquitoes, crane flies do not bite or feed on blood. Instead, they primarily feed on nectar and other plant fluids, making them harmless to humans and pets.

What Kinds of Crane Flies Are There?

There are over 15,000 species of crane flies worldwide, with varying characteristics and distributions. These species belong to the family Tipulidae, and they can be found in a wide range of habitats, from forests and grasslands to wetlands and urban areas. Some common species of crane flies include:

Tipula paludosa:

This species is commonly known as the marsh crane fly and is widespread across Europe and North America. It is often found in damp, marshy areas.

Tipula oleracea:

Also known as the garden crane fly, this species is commonly found in gardens and agricultural fields. It is widespread across Europe and North America.

Tipula abdominalis:

This species is native to North America and is commonly found in wooded areas and grasslands.

Tipula trivittata:

Found throughout North America, this species is known for its distinctive three-striped abdomen.

Nephrotoma appendiculata:

This species, commonly known as the spotted crane fly, is found in Europe and North America and is known for its spotted wings.

These are just a few examples of the many species of crane flies found worldwide. Each species has its own unique characteristics and habitat preferences, contributing to the overall diversity of this fascinating insect family.

What Do Crane Flies Look Like?

Crane flies exhibit a range of appearances depending on the species. While some species have long, slender bodies and delicate wings resembling those of mosquitoes, others may have more robust bodies with distinct markings. Unlike mosquitoes, crane flies do not bite or feed on blood. Instead, they primarily feed on nectar and other plant fluids, making them harmless to humans and pets.

What Do Crane Flies Look Like?
Crane Fly

Crane Fly Life Cycle And How Long They Live For

The life cycle of crane flies consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The larval stage, often referred to as leatherjackets, is particularly noteworthy. Leatherjackets are worm-like larvae that reside in soil and feed on organic matter, including grass roots. They are prolific breeders, with adult females capable of laying hundreds to thousands of eggs in their lifetime. Adult crane flies typically have a relatively short lifespan, living for only a few days to a couple of weeks.

What Attracts Crane Flies?

Crane flies are attracted to specific environmental conditions and habitats that meet their basic needs for survival and reproduction. They thrive in damp, moist environments such as grassy areas, gardens, and near bodies of water, where high humidity levels provide ideal breeding grounds. Additionally, they are drawn to areas with decaying organic matter, such as leaf litter and compost piles, which serve as food sources for their larvae. Grassy areas, lawns, and pastures are common habitats for adult crane flies, where they feed on nectar from flowering plants and shrubs. While not a primary attractant, crane flies may also be drawn to artificial lights at night.

Do Crane Flies Eat Mosquitoes?

Contrary to popular belief, crane flies do not actively prey on mosquitoes. While they may consume small insects and larvae as part of their diet, they primarily feed on nectar and other plant fluids. Therefore, they do not contribute significantly to mosquito control.

Are Crane Flies Harmful?

Crane flies are not harmful to humans or pets. They do not bite, sting, or transmit diseases. While their presence can be a nuisance, particularly when they congregate in large numbers, they pose no direct threat to health or property. However, the larvae of some crane fly species, known as leatherjackets, can cause damage to lawns and crops by feeding on grass roots. Overall, crane flies are considered harmless insects that play a role in ecosystems as pollinators and decomposers.

How To Get Rid Of Crane Flies:

With our expertise and tailored solutions, we can help you get rid of crane flies and enjoy your outdoor spaces without the annoyance of these insects.

Assessment by Expert Technicians:

Our comprehensive approach begins with a thorough assessment of your property by our expert technicians. We meticulously inspect your property to identify potential breeding and harborage areas where crane flies may be congregating.

Targeted Treatment Plan:

Once problem areas are identified, we develop a targeted treatment plan tailored to your specific situation. This plan includes effective treatments designed to reduce crane fly populations and minimize their presence.

Application of Treatments:

Treatments may include the application of insecticides or larvicides in key locations to eliminate existing crane fly populations and prevent future infestations.

Habitat Modifications:

We may recommend habitat modifications to address conditions that attract crane flies, such as reducing moisture levels or removing decaying organic matter.

Preventive Measures:

Our team provides valuable advice on preventive measures you can take to minimize crane fly activity in the future. This may include recommendations for landscape maintenance, such as proper lawn care practices and drainage improvements.

At Alta Pest Control, we are committed to providing effective and long-lasting solutions to manage crane fly infestations and ensure your peace of mind. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward a crane fly-free environment.

How Alta Pest Control Protects Your Home From Pests

All of our treatment plans are customized to your home and yard. We do this to ensure that you get the exact coverage you need to keep your home safe. All of our technicians and inspectors are experts in their field, so you can be sure that you are getting top-tier protection.


One of our expert technicians will inspect every inch of your home and business for pest activity. Then they will create a custom plan based on their findings.

Initial Service

Once your custom plan is created, we will treat your home and yard to give you immediate relief from pests. Then, we will create a boundary around your property to prevent more pests from entering.

Follow Ups

After the initial service, we will conduct regular maintenance to ensure that your pest problems remain solved. We will also conduct free inspections for problem pests, such as termites.

Alta Guarantee

When it comes to pest control, we put our money where our mouth is. If we treat your home, and you're still seeing pests, we'll come back and retreat for free. We'll always have your back.


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