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Mosquito hawks, or maybe the more commonly known crane flies, have confusingly earned themselves a range of monikers that often lead to an abundance of misconceptions. Commonly mistaken for mosquitoes, these large insects are often subjected to extermination efforts, despite the fact that they are beneficial and not a threat to humans. To clear up these misunderstandings, let’s take a look at the truth about mosquito hawks.

What Are Mosquito Hawks?

The Mechanics of the Insect

Mosquito hawks are actually a species of crane fly, not mosquitoes. These flies have long, spindly legs and a delicate body with light-reflecting wings. They typically have a wingspan of about two inches and usually fly close to the ground with a hovering motion. Crane flies typically live for only a few days and are active during the evening.

Varying Stages of the Crane Fly

Crane flies of any species go through several stages in their lives. After mating and egg-laying, larvae emerge from the eggs. These larvae are known as leatherjackets because of their hard, leathery outer coating. They can stay in this form for up to a few years, depending on the species. In the final stage of its life cycle, the crane fly transforms into the flying insect we are familiar with.

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Do Mosquito Hawks Bite?

The Anatomy of a Bite

People often mistakenly believe that mosquito hawks bite or sting when, in fact, they are completely harmless. Unlike mosquitoes, crane flies do not have the anatomy to bite or sting humans. Their long, spindly legs may give the appearance of them “reaching out” but they lack the stinger and mouthparts that would allow them to pierce the skin.

The Benefits of Crane Flies

Ironically, despite their infamy, crane flies and the larvae they produce are beneficial to the environment by feeding on and controlling the population of other insects, like mosquitos and moths. They are also food to many other species of animals, and their larvae are eaten mainly by birds.

Do Mosquito Hawks Carry Disease?

The Disease Vector

Although crane flies are completely harmless to humans, the same cannot be said for the mosquitoes that crane flies feed on. Mosquitoes have the reputation of being disease vectors–capable of transmitting illnesses to humans through biting, such as malaria or West Nile virus. These illnesses are passed through the saliva of the mosquito, not through their crane fly victims. So, while crane flies may be part of their diet, they are not the ones to pass on the diseases.

Can Crane Flies Survive Indoors?

Crane flies are an outdoor species that do not generally make their way inside. If they do find their way into the home, they typically have a short lifespan due to the lack of food sources, as well as the decrease of humidity and temperature.

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Are Mosquito Hawks Dangerous?

In short, no. Not only are mosquito hawks harmless to humans, but they are actually beneficial to the environment in many ways, controlling other insect populations and serving as a food source to many other species. So the next time a flying insect catches your attention, it might be wise to take a closer look before wielding that fly swatter.

People Also Ask

Are Mosquito Hawks the Same as Mosquitoes?

No, mosquito hawks are actually a species of crane fly, not mosquitoes. Crane flies lack the anatomy to bite or sting, while mosquitoes are capable of transmitting diseases through biting.

Do Mosquito Hawks Eat Other Insects?

Yes, the larvae of mosquito hawks feed on other insects and help to control the population.

Do Mosquito Hawks Bite?

No, mosquito hawks lack the anatomy to bite or sting.

Do Mosquito Hawks Carries Diseases?

No, mosquito hawks are harmless to humans and cannot transmit diseases.

Are Mosquito Hawks Dangerous?

No, mosquito hawks are not dangerous to humans and are actually beneficial to the environment.

Final Words

Mosquito hawks are just one of many species of crane flies and are often mistaken as mosquitoes. Despite this misconception, they are harmless to humans and very beneficial to the environment by feeding on and controlling other insect populations. It is better to be informed and understand the truth about mosquito hawks instead of immediately resorting to extermination.