Currently viewing the category: "Crane Fly"

I have recently been told I have Crane Fly Larvae. There are thousands all over Thankfully they are not eating my grass however they are all over my interlocking patio. I have three small children and aside from sweeping them up daily, what can I do to get rid of this problem? Are they harmful to my children. I know the adult crane fly does not bite but do the larvae?
With kind regards,

Dear KJE,
Crane Flies are not harmful at any stage of development. The larvae, known as Leatherbacks, eat the roots of herbaceous plants. Especially in the spring, they can get very numerous. Sorry we have no erradication advice.

Dear Daniel, I was almost certain that this was a land planarian because of the triangular shaped head. I found it under a log and it moves like a slug. I contacted an expert on land planarians and he said this "thing" may be a larva of some sort, but definitely not a land planarian. Any ideas?

Hi Lynette,
I agree with the expert, definitely not a planarian. They are flatworms. It might be some sort of a moth caterpillar. I wish you had a side view of it. How long was it? What about legs? Caterpillars usually have legs. Probably my best guess is a Crane Fly (Tipuloidea) larva, known sometimes as "Leather Jackets". They are often found on dry land in decaying vegetation. The larva of Tipula abdominalis looks like your photo.

Hi again. I guess it was about an inch long. I didn’t see any legs, but it was moving through that slimy stuff, so I guess they could have been there. I really thought I was seeing a worm or slug not a larva but you know I am not too good at this yet. Anyway thanks for pointing me in a general direction!

Lately I have been seeing some of the large mosquito-like creatures and am wondering: Do they really eat mosquitos? I’m talking about the ones that look just like mosquitos but are much lagers and fly with their legs dangling in an almost comical way. They never bother us excpt for an occasional tickle as they brush over an arm, and we are careful to not kill them, ushering them outside if the cat hasn’t already gotten them… Thanks. I just occasioned upon your web page thanks to google…

Dear Lou,
I’m so happy that search engine is doing what it is supposed to do, direct the curious to our site. You are talking about crane flies which though they are known locally in some areas as mosquito hawks, do not really feed on mosquitos. They have soft mouthparts incapable of biting. The Giant Crane Fly, Holorusia hespera, is one of the world’s largest flies with a 3 inch wing span. I’m also happy to hear we have a reader who knows how to cope with insect visitors in a kind and logical manner instead of just bombarding the entire environment with pesticides to no avail.

Thanks! I found a corroborative answer in further searching, Crane Flies! Never heard the name but known the interesting creatures all my life. And Mosquito Hawks are also names for dragonflies and Damsel flies. Fascinating photo article on Damsel flies in National Geographic recently, too.
Thanks, Bugman!

Hi, Bugman….
This guy was just stumbling around on the trunk of my avacado tree….having trouble finding his legs…..he couldn’t fly but he flapped his wings…. I’ve seen a lot of these…..this one was maybe newly hatched and just getting started….he wasn’t as big as the ones who used to live in my bathtub at my old place.
Anyway, this guy was just about an inch long, not counting his legs.. What is he? He looks just like a super sized mosquito, but friendlier, and not at all bloodthirsty. Thanks…..Jonathan

Dear Jonathan,
How nice to hear from you.
You’ve got a common crane fly, (Tipula planicornis). The larger species is the Giant Crane Fly (Holorusia hespera) which can have a three inch wingspan. Craneflies have short soft mouthparts and are incapable of biting. Larvae are called leather jackets and are found in rotting vegetation. Some are aquatic.