We've all seen them outdoors or stuck in between your windows and the screen. A mamoth mega-mosquito that seems to move slowly and most likely carry a huge bite if it lands on you.

It turns out, this large monstrous mosquito isn't a mosquito at all. It's called a crane fly and it doesn't bite humans or animals. In fact, the tiny little mosquito buzzing around your head is far more likely to bite, cause a rash, and possibly even disease. It can however harm that beautiful grass you see on golf courses and beautiful front yards.

According to Cornell Cooperative Extension, the crane fly is an invasive insect that somehow made it's way to New York via northwestern Europe.

"European crane flies (Tipula paludosa), also known as leather jackets during the larval stage, are an invasive insect that have become established in the northwestern United States, eastern Canada, and New York.  Crane flies look like large mosquitoes, but exploit a different ecological niche and do not bite humans.  Crane flies are most problematic to the turf grass industry, especially on golf courses. This is because the flies lay their eggs in the soil for larvae to feed. Tipula paludosa as well as Tipula oleracea are exotic European crane flies that are present in New York. - Cornell Cooperative Extension." 

This insect is a nuisance species because it lays its larvae in the turf, which ultimately can destroy the root system of the grass.

"European crane flies have a large impact on the turf grass industry.  The larvae may scalp lawns during foliar feeding and damage the root systems as well.  Dawson et al. (2004) found that larvae of crane flies significantly impact shoot and root biomass and the microbial composition of the soil. Damaged lawns may appear yellow or have bare spots.  Crane fly larvae have the potential to affect cereals and produce crops, nursery stocks, bare root and container stock, and flowers as well.  The highest damage intensity from T. paludosa has been observed in late spring."

The other problem with crane flies is natural predators, such as birds and skunks, feed on the eggs in the grass and damage the lawn. When the eggs hatch, swarms of the crane flies can serve as a real nuisance for home owners, according to Cornell Cooperative Extension.

The crane fly was first discovered in New York State in 2004.

How large do actual mosquitos get?

According to VDCI.net, mosquitos can grow to have a wingspan of about 1/2 inch. However, those larger mosquitos, much like the crane fly, don't bite or live on a blood diet.


The Center for Disease Control  says the little mosquitos that bite are the ones we have to be careful of.  "Mosquito-borne diseases are those spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Diseases that are spread to people by mosquitoes include Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue, and malaria."

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