Tiger Crane Fly: Exploring Essential Facts and Insights

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Tiger crane flies are fascinating insects that often get mistaken for giant mosquitoes. Contrary to popular belief, these creatures are harmless to humans and do not bite. They have slender bodies and long, delicate legs, making them easy to recognize in your garden or near your home.

As a curious observer, you might wonder about the life cycle and habits of these fascinating flying insects. By learning more about tiger crane flies, you can understand their importance in the ecosystem and appreciate their presence rather than fearing them.

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Throughout its life stages, the tiger crane fly undergoes various transformations. From larvae resembling plump, segmented caterpillars without legs to adults with a wingspan of up to two inches, these insects are an essential food source for various predators. By gaining knowledge on the tiger crane fly, you can share your newfound appreciation for these intriguing creatures with others.

Tiger Crane Fly: A Brief Description

The Tiger Crane Fly is a fascinating insect with distinctive colors and features. These crane flies exhibit red, yellow, and black stripes, giving them the “tiger” aspect in their name. Their yellow abdomen contrasts beautifully with the striking black stripe running along it.

Tiger Crane Flies are not only recognized for their colorful appearance but also for their ecological importance. You might find them in wet and damp habitats, such as marshes, damp woodlands, or even your garden.

Some features of the Tiger Crane Fly include:

  • Red, yellow, and black stripes on the body
  • Yellow abdomen with a prominent black stripe
  • Long, slender legs typical of crane flies

To paint a clearer picture, let’s compare the Tiger Crane Fly with a Common Crane Fly. The Common Crane Fly has a more subtle appearance, with their bodies being grayish-brown and lacking the vibrant colors found in the Tiger Crane Fly. Additionally, they don’t have the black stripe that runs along the abdomen of the Tiger Crane Fly.

In terms of behavior, Tiger Crane Flies share similarities with other crane flies – they are harmless to humans and do not bite. Their larval stage plays a crucial role in breaking down organic matter in their habitats, contributing to a healthy ecosystem.

So, next time you come across a Tiger Crane Fly in your garden or nearby wetland, make sure to appreciate their unique appearance and their role in maintaining a balanced environment.

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Taxonomy and Classification

Tipulidae Family

The tiger crane fly belongs to the Tipulidae family, also known as crane flies. This family comprises about 15,000 species of insects. Crane flies are characterized by their long legs, slender bodies, and two wings. They can be found in various habitats worldwide.

Order Diptera

Crane flies belong to the Order Diptera, which includes mosquitoes, midges, and other two-winged insects. Diptera is derived from the Greek words “di,” meaning two, and “ptera,” meaning wings. Dipterans have a single pair of wings used for flying, along with a pair of specialized hindwings called halteres for balance.

Infraorder Tipulomorpha

Infraorder Tipulomorpha is where crane flies are specifically classified within the Diptera order. Tipulomorphs typically exhibit the following features:

  • Elongated, slender body
  • Long, delicate legs
  • Two wings with reduced venation
  • Cylindrical-shaped antennae with more than six segments

Subfamily Tipulinae

The Subfamily Tipulinae consists of crane flies within the Tipulidae family. These insects are characterized by their varying sizes and wing patterns. Some common traits of the subfamily Tipulinae include:

  • Antennae with 14 or fewer segments
  • Extended proportions of the tibiae
  • Wings with reduced anal veins

Genus Nephrotoma

Lastly, the tiger crane fly belongs to the Genus Nephrotoma. This genus is known for its distinct tiger-striped pattern found on the wings and abdomen, which serves as a camouflage in their natural habitat. Other features of Nephrotoma species include:

  • Bold, longitudinal stripes on the thorax
  • Slender, elongated legs with a spiny appearance
  • A wingspan ranging from 9 to 14 millimeters

In summary, the tiger crane fly is a fascinating species within the Tipulidae family and Order Diptera. Their unique features and classification within the Infraorder Tipulomorpha, Subfamily Tipulinae, and Genus Nephrotoma showcase the diverse and complex characteristics of these insects.

Identification and Appearance

Tiger crane flies, also known as mosquito hawks, can be easily identified by their distinctive features, such as their wing pattern, antennae, and ovipositor. This section will guide you through these key characteristics to help you recognize these fascinating insects.

Wing Pattern

Tiger crane flies usually have a brown to dark brown body coloration, which contrasts with the pattern on their wings. Their wings often feature distinctive dark spots or bands that resemble the stripes of a tiger. The wingspan of a tiger crane fly can range from about 0.4 inches to well over 2 inches, depending on the species.

Antennae

Another characteristic that sets tiger crane flies apart from similar species is their antennae. They typically have long, thread-like antennae, with a substantial number of segments. Moreover, these antennae are often around the same length as their body or even longer. This feature can be quite helpful when trying to differentiate them from mosquitoes, whose antennae are generally shorter.

Ovipositor

The ovipositor is the egg-laying apparatus of female tiger crane flies. It’s a slender, needle-like structure found at the end of the abdomen. The presence and shape of the ovipositor can be a useful clue in identifying tiger crane flies, as it’s quite distinctive from other insects such as mosquitoes.

To summarize, identifying a tiger crane fly involves examining its wing pattern (stripes or spots), antennae (long and segmented), and ovipositor (slender and needle-like). With practice, you’ll soon be able to recognize these unique creatures with ease.

Distribution and Habitat

The tiger crane fly can be found in various regions across the globe. You’ll primarily see them in North America, Europe, the UK, and parts of Asia. They typically thrive in habitats that are conducive to their lifestyle and feeding habits.

As a species that prefers damp, grassy places, you’ll often find them living near hedgerows and grass roots. Keep an eye out for them in your environment, as these insects are vital components of the ecosystem.

To get a better understanding of their habitat preferences, let’s dive into some key features:

  • They often reside in low-lying areas with moist soil, such as meadows or marshes.
  • Grassy environments provide both food and shelter for tiger crane fly larvae.

Maintaining a healthy, well-drained lawn in your yard can reduce the chances of crane fly infestations. It’s important to note that adult crane flies have very short lives – usually just one to two weeks. The larvae, however, have a greater impact on your garden.

Remember, the distribution and habitat of tiger crane flies can offer valuable information, helping you identify potential infestations or manage their presence in your outdoor spaces.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Tiger crane flies mate during their brief adult life. Males and females come together, often at night, to procreate. After mating, the females lay eggs in moist soil or decaying organic matter.

These eggs hatch into larvae, also known as leatherjackets due to their tough exterior. Larvae feed on decaying plant material and roots. In some cases, they may feed on seedlings or grass, depending on the species.

As the larvae grow, they go through several instars or developmental stages. During this time, they shed their skin multiple times, growing larger in each stage. Eventually, they start pupating.

Pupating is the phase where larvae transform into adult crane flies. This process takes place within a protective casing called a pupa, typically buried in the soil. After a few weeks, the adult emerges from the pupa, and the cycle begins anew.

To summarize:

  • Mating occurs between adult males and females
  • Females lay eggs in moist soil or organic matter
  • Eggs hatch into larvae that feed on decaying plants and roots
  • Larvae go through several instars before pupating
  • Adults emerge from pupae to start the cycle again

Remember to keep an eye out for these fascinating creatures as they play a crucial role in breaking down organic matter in our ecosystem.

Diet and Feeding Habits

Tiger Crane Flies, like other crane fly species, have varied diets depending on their stage of life. As larvae, they feed mainly on plant roots, particularly those of hogweed. In this stage, they are known as leatherjackets. You might find them munching on the roots in your garden.

Once they transform into adults, their diet changes. Adult Tiger Crane Flies consume nectar and pollen from flowering plants. They do not harm plants, so consider them your friendly garden visitors. While feeding, they may even contribute to pollination.

To make your garden attractive to Tiger Crane Flies, you can:

  • Plant hogweed and other flowering plants that provide nectar and pollen.
  • Maintain a variety of plant life to ensure a continuous food supply throughout their lifecycle.

Remember to keep it balanced, as leatherjackets, in their larval stage, can be considered pests if they damage the roots of your plants. Always monitor their presence in your garden and take control measures if necessary.

Overall, understanding the diet and feeding habits of Tiger Crane Flies can help you manage their presence in your garden and appreciate the role they play in the ecosystem.

Predation and Threats

The tiger crane fly, like other crane fly species, faces certain predators and threats in their life cycle. For instance, you may not know that birds are one of the main predators of crane flies.

Some bird species prey on crane fly larvae as they find these juicy grubs in the soil. Crane fly larvae, or maggots, are usually about 2-3 inches long and have no legs, making them an easy target for hungry birds. However, a well-maintained turfgrass can help to reduce the impact of crane fly larvae feeding on the lawn, allowing the grass to recover even if birds feast on the larvae.

In addition to birds, other natural predators, such as predaceous ground beetles, can cause a significant decrease in the crane fly larvae population by as much as 50% during the winter months. These beetles, attracted to moisture, feed on crane fly larvae and help manage their population.

When it comes to managing tiger crane flies in your lawn, proper maintenance of turfgrass allows it to be more resistant to crane fly damage. This includes regular mowing, fertilization, and irrigation.

In conclusion, some typical predators of tiger crane flies include birds and beetles. By managing your lawn properly, you can make it more resistant to crane fly damage, helping to keep their populations under control.

Role in the Ecosystem

Tiger crane flies play a crucial part in maintaining a balanced ecosystem. As their larvae, also known as leatherjackets, develop in the soil, they feed on decaying plant matter and small insects. This aids in breaking down organic materials, helping enrich the soil and recycle nutrients.

Adult crane flies, on the other hand, serve as a food source for various predators like birds, spiders, and other insects. To give an example, predaceous ground beetles can help regulate crane fly populations during their development.

Tiger crane flies are also excellent indicators of the surrounding environment’s health. Since they are usually found near water, their presence could signal an ample water supply and well-preserved habitats for other organisms.

In summary, these creatures are vital to sustaining a healthy ecosystem, as they contribute to recycling nutrients, support the food chain, and act as environmental indicators. So when you see a tiger crane fly, know that it is playing an essential role in maintaining balance in the environment.

Common Misunderstandings

Misunderstanding 1: Mosquito Hawks
One common misunderstanding is that tiger crane flies are sometimes called “mosquito hawks” and are believed to kill and eat mosquitoes. However, this is not true. Crane flies, including tiger crane flies, are not predators of mosquitoes. Adult crane flies mostly feed on nectar, while the larvae are typically scavengers or herbivores feeding on decaying organic matter or plant roots.

Misunderstanding 2: Long-legged Flies
Crane flies, such as the tiger crane fly, might also be confused with long-legged flies because of their similar appearance. The two, however, are different groups of insects. Long-legged flies belong to the family Dolichopodidae while crane flies belong to the family Tipulidae. The main visual difference between the two is the size. Crane flies are usually larger than long-legged flies.

Misunderstanding 3: True Flies
Tiger crane flies are true flies. “True flies” is a term used to describe insects of the order Diptera, which includes crane flies, mosquitoes, house flies, and many others. These insects have only one pair of wings, while other winged insects have two pairs. The term “true flies” differentiates them from other insect groups like mayflies, dragonflies, and butterflies.

So, when you see a tiger crane fly, keep in mind these common misunderstandings. Tiger crane flies are not mosquito eaters, not the same as long-legged flies, and they are a part of the true flies order. Remembering these points will help you better understand these interesting insects and their role in the ecosystem.

Authors

  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts
Tags: Tiger Crane Flies

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161 Comments. Leave new

  • I picked up a crane fly to put out the window a few years ago, exactly like the one in the picture. I’m convinced it stung me but it didn’t swell up.

    Reply
    • Perhaps you were stung by a similar looking insect since are of the opinion that it could not have been a Crane Fly that stung or bit you. Some Ichneumons resemble Crane Flies and some species are known to sting. See this information on Ichneumons in the subfamily Ophioninae from BugGuide.

      Reply
    • I was also stung by a crane fly. I am sure it is a crane fly. It hurt.

      Reply
    • Lin dickison
      June 10, 2022 10:14 am

      Me, too. On a window, square tail end. Gently tried to get on my finger to put outside. Suddenly stung violently, very painful. Had large red welt for days. (California)

      Reply
    • I was stung on the foot in the shower last night. Maybe they only sting when they are going to die? I’ve seen many crane flies in my life and always believed them to be harmless. The sting definitely hurt.

      Reply
  • melissa hudson
    April 6, 2013 9:09 pm

    Me and my husband live in the mid-south, this evening the weather felt so great that we had the doors open for a bit . He then noticed the crane fly in our kitchen, being pagans we didn’t want to kill it so my husband caught it by the wing and went to throw it outside. It curled its tail and stung him on the hand. The little stinger didn’t leave a mark,,,,,,,,BUT THEY DO STING !!

    Reply
    • Agree with “bugman”, it sounds like a variety of ichneumon wasp that can be mistaken for a harmless crane fly. They can look very similar, but usually with somewhat shorter legs. These wasps have a barb on their tail which they use for boring when egg laying. Insofar as I recall, the barb is non-venomous, but can be quite painful when the insect uses it in defense.

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    • Absolutely! I’m sorry but maybe a now species I also tried to place this bug outside in my hand, IT STUNG ME LILE A BEE! Sorry bugan they sting.

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  • Spring, Texas: A few minutes ago I got home from the store, and when I walked through the door, I saw what I thought was a common crane fly slipping into the kitchen. I had cupped my hand around him and was gonna toss him back outside, but before I got back to the door, he stung or bit me on my palm and I dropped it. It wasn’t anything agonizing, and after putting some ammonia on it, it hasn’t bothered me, but a small area around the single puncture hole is red. Once I tended my hand, I gathered him up in a papertowel and carried him to the counter under the light and magnifying glass, and its head looked more like a tiny wasp head than a Crane Fly. It was an opaque yellow/orange in colour with opaque colorless wings. It hadn’t any noticeable antennae, however. Am curious as to what it was, and any help identifying would be appreciated. Like I said, it wasn’t too painful, but it stunned me. I hadn’t expected to get plucked, I’ve never encountered an insect with a Crane Fly’s figure that was capable of any sense of harm before, kinda threw me for a loop! @__@

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  • I just got stung on the back by a CRANE FLY last night. I rolled over on it laying in bed. It left a big white mark where it stung me, then red around it. Felt like the stinger was still inside for a couple hours, but then. redness and stuff went away towards the end of the night.

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  • I, too, was stung by a crane fly yesterday. It shocked me, as crane flies “do not sting.” It seems that anecdotal evidence is beginning to outweigh what is known in the canon of crane fly info. 🙂 I am sure this was a crane fly and not an ichneumon. Positive i.d., used to dealing with these guys. Picked it up to bring it outside, and it stung my palm. Left a red mark! I was so surprised, I shrieked.

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    • Well, they do look like giant Mosquitoes.

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    • Yeh I grabbed one today to put it outside, without a doubt it was a big ol’ crane fly and I definitely got bitten/stung by it, have two tiny marks on my finger now, doesn’t hurt much though.

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  • A crane fly either bite or stung me…….I hate that everyone keeps saying this isn’t try. I saw it with my own eyes! Don’t believe me…..Go put one on your hand!

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  • Deborah Morey
    April 22, 2014 12:38 pm

    I live in east Texas and have been around crane flies all my life but I was just stung on my neck and have huge raised welp from it!

    Reply
    • We may have to contact Wayne Chen to see what he has to say about this.

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    • Karen Rosson
      April 4, 2019 7:43 pm

      I, too, live in East Texas & went to put one outside & it stung me! My husband & I were both surprise. Everything I googled said they don’t but they certainly do!

      Reply
  • Same thing happened to me last night in Cincinnati. Cranefly…tried to take it outside. It bit/stung me and left no mark. Like the others I was surprised, which is why I googled it and came to this post with people who have shared my experience.

    Reply
  • My dog chased a bug last night that looked a lot like the pic of crane fly, she got it and it stung her in the mouth.she jumped like it hurt but it didnt swell like a bee sting so I thought it was fine, when we got up in the morning she got off the bed and started throwing up.she seems ok now but next time I will get the bug outside safely:)we live in illinios

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  • I’m sorry, I agree with everyone else – THEY STING. What just stung me a few moments ago looked like the classic crane fly. He’d been in my house all day (since I let him in this morning as I was leaving for work) – as I was going to bed, I noticed he was on the inside of the door – I cupped my hand around it to help it outside, and I have a burning, swollen hand to prove they do sting. He’s now in a crumple (with shoe impressions distorting his carcass) on the inside of my doorway. It’s no wasp.

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  • Crane Flies/Mosquito Hawks STING! I got stung in the back sitting outside w/o a shirt. It got between me and the back of the chair. It left a welt and felt like there was a little needle or nettle like that of a thistle or itch weed.

    Reply
  • My son had a crane fly on his leg and he was afraid of it, screaming for me to get it. When I picked it up off of him it stung my middle finger pretty good. It actually left a small piece of stinger in my finger that I had to pick out with a pair of tweezers.

    Reply
  • crane fly sting palm of my hand after ~4 days found the stinger and removed it
    it almost felt like an electrical shock with pulses as it stung my hand

    Reply
  • crane fly sting palm of my hand after ~4 days found the stinger and removed it
    it almost felt like an electrical shock with pulses as it stung my hand

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  • In south east Nebraska

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  • Looking at the photos of ichneumon wasp It very well could have been one of these. some photos look pretty much the same as a crane fly.

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  • Years ago, I stepped on a crane fly (yes, it was a crane fly, not any Ichnuemons), and it stung me on my foot. It died and I put it in a cup. It was definitely a crane fly, and the internet says they don’t sting but this one definitely did, somehow.

    Reply
  • Margie Mitchell
    September 26, 2014 10:05 am

    A bug was flying around me a morning ago. I was trying to capture it and put it outside. In so doing I got stung. My finger swelled and the bite or sting isn’t going away. It sort of looks like the picture above, but it was bright orange in color. Didn’t think Mayflies bite, so thought it was something else, but it looked just like a mayfly. Now I wish I had taken a picture of it, but my finger is very painful and nothing is helping that pain go away. This had the long legs and wings of a Mayfly.

    Reply
  • They DO sting. I’m here in Dallas. I was watching a movie paying little attention to what turned out to be a Crane Fly. I’ve never seen one of these before and Googled what I saw. What I just killed looks exactly the same as a Crane Fly. I paid not attention until my feet started itching then burning. I turned on the light and have 5 welts on my feet. They sting like a fire ant and swell similarly. Using Skeeter Stix has helped after applying. Entomologists need to revisit what they thought they knew about this insect.

    Justin

    Reply
  • They DO sting. I’m here in Dallas. I was watching a movie paying little attention to what turned out to be a Crane Fly. I’ve never seen one of these before and Googled what I saw. What I just killed looks exactly the same as a Crane Fly. I paid not attention until my feet started itching then burning. I turned on the light and have 5 welts on my feet. They sting like a fire ant and swell similarly. Using Skeeter Stix has helped after applying. Entomologists need to revisit what they thought they knew about this insect.

    Justin

    Reply
  • Mr. Bugman I live in Shreveport, La and yes these things do sting and it hurts like hell!

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  • THEY DO BITE MY HUSBAND SWATED AT ONE TONIGHT AND IT FLEW BACK AND STUNG HIM ON HIS FINGER!!

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  • Andrew Swensen
    October 12, 2014 10:37 pm

    YES they do sting genius. I don’t care what school you went to or what PHD whatever. Pick one up then smart guy…they sting! Not like a bee but close. And they continue to stab that lance over and over when under duress. Sometimes experience beats education I guess. Ouch the red ones are aggressive and mean!

    Reply
  • Redneck Retards
    March 7, 2015 9:49 pm

    I love how people think they’re smarter than others that studied Entomology, and still have the childlike mentality of “if it talks like a duck and squawks like a duck…” Stay in school kids!

    Reply
    • That’s rude! Both culprits look very similar and very easily could be mistaken. I have been stung and it looks so much like the crane. I am unsure which but will more closly examine the others in my home.

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  • I have Crane flies galore here is the gulf coast of MS. They are always engaged by the lights and end up in my house when the furkids go out for there outside trips. I keep several in the house (unplanned) on any given day. I’ve never been bitten, stung by these gentle insects. They occassionally land or flutter on my skin which, I call a butterfly kiss because of the flutter feel but, I guess now it can be a cranefly kiss….just doesn’t sound as warm. I’ve thought for years of these as Mosquito hawks, that what we called them our growing up years, however after a disagreement and research it is actually my beloved dragon fly, aka, mosquito hawk that devours our nasty little pesk…which explains why we have so many of those as well, to my happiness. Never been bit or stung by a Cranefly

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  • A few nights ago saw a mosquito hawk or crane fly, in Ca we have quite a few. Grew up around them, never experienced a bite from one until recently. Swatted at it after it flew into my face, it then came back and landed on my chest, I shooed it off, but before it went it stung me leaving a red welt that burned for two days.

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  • After seeing everyone argue with the expert, I thought, it’s time to do some research. Here is what I learned—- A crane fly looks very close to an ophioninae. The major difference in the two is a crane fly doesn’t sting or bite. But a ophioninae does. None of you was bit or stung by a crane fly. Sorry if I stepped on any toes.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your research Melissa. The editorial staff at What’s That Bug? has been trying to get that point across for many years.

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  • Tonight I caught a mosquito hawk in my hand was going to throw it outside and it stung my hand. It left a mark and my hand burns and yes it is swollen. I have a picture to prove it. I live in North Central Texas and they are as common as flies here.

    Reply
    • Are you certain it is not an Ichneumon? Please submit the image using our Ask What’s That Bug? link and put Stinging Mosquito Hawk in the subject line.

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    • I am in North East Texas, in the thickets and pines . Just few min ago I realized my window was open crane flys all around swooped as many as I could still couople flying around. I say down and on my leg where I rested my arm was I thought crane fly, stung me. Got good look side by side with crane and it’s definitely not a crane. Shorter legs but looks almost identical until u see them resting. People in Texas it is a wasp , it was lil red white ring where the bite was other than the first sting no pain. So look closer it’s not a crane. Wasp face and a pointed stinger that doesn’t stay in you and will repeatedly sting if u grab it. Don’t grab flying creatures unless ur positive! Use ur brains guys btw crane flys are useless if u ask me

      Reply
  • I was bitten the other day by what i thought was a crane fly, except the abdomen was more arched, and the wings were shorter and more rounded then that of a crane fly, the affected area has a large welt is ed and has a rash surrounding it and is painful to touch and itches terribly

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  • hahahaha. no. didn’t happen.

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  • Juliet Green – humans!! *facepalm*

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  • Hmm. The very rare and unusual crane fly. You can understand that they might never have seen one before.

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  • I’ve picked up crane flies frequently and never been stung–maybe they were all males? :/ But I don’t think either sexes sting. Perhaps it was a type of ichneumon? Some species do sting while some don’t.

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    • That is our belief as well. Some Ichneumons resemble Crane Flies and some Ichneumons can sting.

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  • I tell my kids to think of them as ugly butterflies. Just as harmless. (But, on record, I don’t think they ugly at all!) #ConfessionsOfABugLover

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  • I googled “stinging insect that looks like a mayfly”, and found this site. Turn out I’ve been calling cranefly, mayfly. But a further search claims that neither of these critters stings or bites. But just like the other folks commenting I got stung or bit or whatever by a critter very similar looking to a cranefly, although it did look a bit different. So what stung us?

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  • never mind, should have read comments closer, pretty sure it was a ichneumon

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  • Hi UK here never been stung by a crane fly (or daddy long legs as we call them) but then nothing really stings here! Was wondering what the little dude floating about my house is. Very graceful flight unlike the common cranes, half the size but very crane like otherwise. The wings are held at 90 degrees to body and are possibly double. They have squared sort of ends and the only pic ive seen of a crane with non rounded tips are the ones in the fishing tackle box! Any ideas? Let’s hope he doesn’t come back while I’m asleep and sting me on behalf of his vicious American cousin!

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  • They most certainly do sting. Just about every original post (not reply) on the story are from people claiming they were stung, they all can’t be wrong. I know first hand they sting, I was stung by one this past summer, and no it wasn’t Ichneumon Wasp, it was a Crane Fly. Not sure how people can claim they don’t sting unless they finally get stung by one, like I did. I would of sworn they didn’t sting, I was sure of it, besides, everything on the net said the same thing, they didn’t sting. Then It happened, I got stung by one.

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  • They do sting! I was lying in bed when one started flying around my head so I tried to catch it and it stung me which really hurt

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  • I live in England and about an hour ago I found a crane fly in the kitchen. I cupped it in my hands to take it to the front door and let it out. It stung me! I had no idea that they could sting but by golly it DID sting! My hand is still red! I dropped the crane fly like a hot brick and while I nursed my hand I decided that I had better stamp on it in case something awful happened to me and the hospital needed to see the culprit.

    We have loads of crane flies where I live and I know what they look like – it wasn’t a hornet or a wasp. It was a crane fly – just like the one in the photo at the top of the page. I found this page when looking for some advice on crane fly stings.

    Reply
  • I live in England and about an hour ago I found a crane fly in the kitchen. I cupped it in my hands to take it to the front door and let it out. It stung me! I had no idea that they could sting but by golly it DID sting! My hand is still red! I dropped the crane fly like a hot brick and while I nursed my hand I decided that I had better stamp on it in case something awful happened to me and the hospital needed to see the culprit.

    We have loads of crane flies where I live and I know what they look like – it wasn’t a hornet or a wasp. It was a crane fly – just like the one in the photo at the top of the page. I found this page when looking for some advice on crane fly stings.

    Reply
  • My youngest son was just putting one of these guys outside and jumped saying it bit him. I didn’t think so but sure enough, he has a very visible sting mark on his hand and it is turning red all around it.

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  • I was stung several years ago by what I thought to be a mosquito hawk/crane fly. It came in at night. That’s when I see them the most, at night near light sources. I cupped it in my hand to take it back out & it stung the crap out of me. It felt like a mini pulsating electric shock, not something I want to experience again.

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  • They definitely sting!! Had my window open and felt something sting my leg under my blanket and lifted it up and the little sucker was right there!! Weather has been pretty great in charleston lately so my windows have been open a lot and I’ve crossed paths with plenty of these hawk Mosquitos and never been bit but I can promise you this one bit me!!

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  • Same story here — my husband got stung by one trying to release it tonight. I’ve just been smashing them when I find them in the house because I don’t trust ANYTHING not to sting. I saw it, he saw it. Definitely one of the crane flies. Not a wasp.

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  • Okay, Okay, just to clarify for us, as I myself have been looking every where on the net, do Crane Flies have stingers or not? They are the reason why I even came to this site. I just smashed like three in my room thing they where mosquitoes on steroids or something. After reading wikipedia, I definitely know they can be label as Crane Flies. Their legs easily fall off off, they actually try to run away from me and are NOT aggressive by any means. But whats up with the end of their ‘tail’ looking so sharp?? To an unaware human eye, this is a sign of danger, whether the bug is dangerous or not. Is that what it mates with or something? Or is that what it stings (IF it is a stinger), or is it just simply the look of that part of its body. I get that they are non-aggressive now, and before I always just thought they must have been mosquitoes. But now I know they are crane flies. But why can’t some one just simply explain if they have stingers or not? Instead of just saying they don’t sting or bite people, I get that. They run away. But this does not answer if they have a stinger or not, and if so, they could sting people, if that was their last line of defense.

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    • Crane Flies do not possess stingers, though females of many species have prominent ovipositors.

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  • I am in England. About 30 years ago I was stung by a crane fly and have been trying to convince people of it ever since. We who have been on the receiving end are convinced they do, although it seems it’s only the female of the species as have captured males in my hand with no problem. Will never touch a female again, it hurt like hell and my hand swelled up. To those who absolutely do not believe it these creatures seem to be prevalent the world over. Please go catch one.

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  • I am always prepared to be wrong, in fact it is even good to be wrong if you learn something from it. Having read the replies from the experts I went and had a look at a lot of photo’s of the Ichneumon wasp and I admit there are several types which do look very much like craneflies. As I was 15 when I caught this particular creature in my hand and as I obviously released it to fly away very quickly I didn’t get a good long look at it. Cranefly or wasp it resulted in a phobia of anything dragonflyish for a good number of years until I told myself I was being stupid and forced myself to catch another one in my house to release it outside. The only way to be absolutely certain is, I guess, to capture what is definitely a female cranefly and see if she stings me. If I ever pluck up the courage I’ll let you know!!

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  • I live in Arkansas, and y’all can say they don’t sting as much as you like, but you are WRONG! I have been stung three different times by three different ones and it looks exactly like the pictures y’all are posting. It stings like a wasp and leaves the red dot in the middle with the whelp around it. It didn’t land on me and attack me like a red wasp or something, but one got caught between my fingers and I guess I scared it and it stung me as a defense mechanism. I will beware from now on.

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  • Ummm yeah they do to sting and you can definitely see a stinger protruding from its derriere.

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  • Katherine Houston
    October 14, 2016 4:56 pm

    I was surprisingly stung by a flying insect last night that was around the light fixture that I thought was a crane fly/skeeter hawk. As I was carrying it outside, it stung me on the finger. Like a yellowjacket sting–big hard swollen raised painful enough that I can still feel it a bit, 24 hrs later, even tho I took an antihistamine right away. I am in Northern California. Didn’t look like the Ichneumons pictured.

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  • I live in Andalusia Alabama and last night ( Halloween) my daughters and I were sitting on the porch handing out candy and I had glitter on my face pretty thick as face painting. This mosquito hawk landed on my face and the thick glitter stuck to it and it couldn’t move , it stung the hell out of me, I had to grab it and throw it down and then stepped on it. It was definitely a mosquito or what’s called a crane fly…I had a whelt for hours!!!

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  • I took a picture of it stuck to my shoe when I smashed it….all these scientists saying they don’t sting just has not been stung by one….it felt like liquid fire.

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  • And it leaves a little white whelt with a red dot in the middle…24 hrs latter you can still see it.

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  • I’m going to take a video with my phone because they have a stinger or the other thing you called it and I’ve been stung by one. If so many people claim this why haven’t they done more research. A million people can’t be wrong. Anyways I’ll take a video and show it curling and trying to sting and stinging. Where do I send it?

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  • A Biology Student
    April 18, 2017 8:30 am

    This is kind of ridiculous. Is anyone listening? Crane flies do NOT possess the proper equipment to administer a sting. Does anyone here truly think that after years and years of study, such a feature would have remained unknown? Are you truly willing to accept hearsay and anecdotal evidence from the postmortem examination of smashed insect remains over thorough scientific investigation?

    I have caught both ichneumons and crane flies, and can attest to the similar morphology and behavior. I have recieved stings as a consequence of mistaking the identity of an individual. Every year I have seen both ichneumons and crane flies inside my home. Numerous times I have even encountered an ichneumon fly mixed in with a group of crane flies. These occurences are probably entirely coincidental, due to the relative abundance of both organisms.

    If you are going to establish an authentic claim that you truly got stung, you must catch the insect in the process of stinging, thus positively identifying the culprit. There should be no posibility that the individual captured was not responsible for the sting. The injury must be positvely identified as a sting, and not some other injury which may have inadvertently aquired in a different manner. Clear pictures must me taken of the insect in question, in order to positively identify it, and if at all possible the specimen should be preserved intact and submitted to a competent entomologist. It would be sensational if a cranefly was discovered which actually posessed a true stinger. No insect in order Diptera has ever been documented to have a stinger.

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  • A Biology Student
    April 18, 2017 8:30 am

    This is kind of ridiculous. Is anyone listening? Crane flies do NOT possess the proper equipment to administer a sting. Does anyone here truly think that after years and years of study, such a feature would have remained unknown? Are you truly willing to accept hearsay and anecdotal evidence from the postmortem examination of smashed insect remains over thorough scientific investigation?

    I have caught both ichneumons and crane flies, and can attest to the similar morphology and behavior. I have recieved stings as a consequence of mistaking the identity of an individual. Every year I have seen both ichneumons and crane flies inside my home. Numerous times I have even encountered an ichneumon fly mixed in with a group of crane flies. These occurences are probably entirely coincidental, due to the relative abundance of both organisms.

    If you are going to establish an authentic claim that you truly got stung, you must catch the insect in the process of stinging, thus positively identifying the culprit. There should be no posibility that the individual captured was not responsible for the sting. The injury must be positvely identified as a sting, and not some other injury which may have inadvertently aquired in a different manner. Clear pictures must me taken of the insect in question, in order to positively identify it, and if at all possible the specimen should be preserved intact and submitted to a competent entomologist. It would be sensational if a cranefly was discovered which actually posessed a true stinger. No insect in order Diptera has ever been documented to have a stinger.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for your passionate comment that supports what we have stated for years. Interestingly, we recently received this posting that does lend some credence to the claim that Crane Flies might be able to inflict pain on humans. Upon contacting Crane Fly expert Dr. Chen Young and Eric Eaton, we are standing firm that Crane Flies do not sting, but that the ovipositor of a female Crane Fly might jab a person accidentally.

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  • I, too, was recently “stung” by a crane fly. I have handled them for many years believing they were unable to sting, yet this crane like fly stung similarly to what was reported in the other post. It hurt a lot and was red and sore for days. Would love to find clarification!

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  • I too have been “stung” by an insect that resembled a crane fly.
    Time to gather some video and some specimens I suppose…

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  • I too have been “stung” by an insect that resembled a crane fly.
    Time to gather some video and some specimens I suppose…

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  • Jordan Batte
    April 3, 2018 7:19 pm

    Hello! I was just stung, or “jabbed” as well, with my story nearly identical to the original poster! I was glad to see I was not alone. I am also in Texas, south of Houston, and have never had this happen before. I have handled bugs, and crane flies my entire life, so I was shocked. I have a photo image as well if any entomologists need proof.

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  • I am sorry Chen Young, but you are wrong. I dare you to grab a large female Crane Fly with your bare hand. Feel free to come to my house where you will be stung by Crane Flys. And I do agree they are not venomous however the female will penetrate skin and “poop” under your skin. I have verified all of this for years but never felt like google searching it until now. So for those of you who are being stung, you are being hit with the female end that can penetrate wood to lay eggs. Feel free to reach out if you feel I am wrong and I would be happy to educate you.

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    • Andrea Banach
      June 11, 2021 1:35 am

      i want stung but my question is do the females show agression in other ways. ive been arond crane flys my whole life in minnesota and here in missouri ive encountered a large crane fly that charges at me like trying to attack..not like the typical bouncing around against walls but would watch me for a few mins then fly staight at me over and over and would fly else where..so that why i wonder if the the females show aggression when they are about to lay eggs or maybe protective of area by where thay lay eggs..

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  • I was just stung or “jabbed” by one of these and it hurt!

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  • I too was recently stung. Depending on the time of year, and how long the back door has been left open in the evening, it isn’t uncommon for me to find 3 or 4 floating around the house at any given time. For the last 30+ years, whenever I find one within reach, I gently cup it in my hand, open the back door, toss it out, and watch it fly away. Over the last year or two, I’ve noticed that some of these crane flies are a little bit different in appearance. While most of them have straight bodies, I’m beginning to see more and more with butts that are curved up. Other than that, they look the same to me. While carrying one of these buggers outside a few months ago, I was stung in the hand. And when I say ‘stung’, I don’t mean that it felt like a mosquito bite. No. The pain was almost as sharp as a bee sting. Not quite, but close. If the scientists want us all to believe that we all evolved from the birds and the bees, to the elk and the trees, and that a pelican evolved into a hippo, do you suppose it might just be possible that some of these crane flies may have evolved a stinger?

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  • destiny haddix
    July 10, 2018 10:04 pm

    I did the same thing , picked it up and was looking at it (I was curious if it stung or not) & it DEFINITELY had a stinger! NOT gonna tell me otherwise I seen that crap with my own two eyes and yes it was a crane fly!

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  • destiny haddix
    July 10, 2018 10:10 pm

    And yes it was live and well while I was checking her out!

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  • Heidi Hjelmark
    July 11, 2018 11:34 am

    Hi!:-)
    Today i felt a sting on my back, I waved my hand and killed the bug that stung me. And it was a crane fly.. I tought it was something else,since cran flyes are not supose to sting. But I sent a picture of the bug to a entomologist,and he told that it was a crane fly, and they dont sting. Well yes they do! Its very very painfull.. no one believes me,but i know that that was what stung me. . i hope i never experience that again..

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  • Heidi Hjelmark
    July 11, 2018 11:34 am

    Hi!:-)
    Today i felt a sting on my back, I waved my hand and killed the bug that stung me. And it was a crane fly.. I tought it was something else,since cran flyes are not supose to sting. But I sent a picture of the bug to a entomologist,and he told that it was a crane fly, and they dont sting. Well yes they do! Its very very painfull.. no one believes me,but i know that that was what stung me. . i hope i never experience that again..

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  • Without images, a woman also reported on Insetologia a crane fly bite. I argued, but she stated she is very sure about it.

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    • Thanks Cesar. WTB? has been getting reports of Crane Fly stings for years. Without images, we generally blame Short Tailed Ichneumons, but these images seem to support the claim.

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  • Melissa Meyer
    August 19, 2018 8:07 pm

    I, too, was stung by a crane fly. Call it what you want; a jab, poke, whatever. It hurt badly and my reaction was to smash it. I sent a pic to the local university, and they confirmed it as a crane fly. I no longer handle them!

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  • SUSAN HODGKINS
    September 2, 2018 3:43 pm

    Was ABSOLUTELY stung by a Crane Fly. Ouch. Two days later and I have a big, itchy, red welt.

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    • Susan M Hodgkins
      June 8, 2019 8:47 am

      I was stung again. This time I looked more closely at it. It was a stinging ichneumon. Bugman was right. My apologies.

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  • Many many years ago , showing off around friends trying to impress a female. I caught a crane fly in my hand showing that it was harmless, but to my surprise. I was stung with my middle finger almost tripling for about 45 minutes or more. That’s when I stopped catching insects. So tell me what it was.

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  • I am in Forestville, CA 60 miles north of San Francisco and I was trying to do the right thing by rescuing the darn thing flying around in my house.I cupped my hand over it as it went to a light and it stung the crap out of my finger.That was 3 days ago and my finger is still red and swollen.It looks exactly like the pic in this article.Instead of killing it, I put a towel over it and took it out.Next time I will not be so nice as my finger is still painful.

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  • I work in a warehouse next to a swampy oceanfront area. I see at least one or two of these a day, and recently decided to start killing the ones I saw. The same day I purposely killed one, I was stung by the next one I tried to kill. The bite was about an inch diameter, white hard lump, with about another inch red around that. It happened as I was swatting at it…itchiest bite/sting/whatever ever! Take into consideration that species evolve defensively.

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  • I just encountered a Crane Fly high up on the ceiling in our hallway. Not sure what it was (I only identified it after an internet search), I swatted it down with a broom….it fell to the floor injured and as I bent down to pick it up, I saw the “stinger” or ovipositor probing back and forth. I was somewhat surprised as the insect did not resemble a wasp, but the stinger – barb thing was definitely moving like that of a wasp/hornet. I was fortunately not stung like some of the other posters.

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    • I have also seen the stinger/ovipositor. I believe I’ve either seen an insect that isn’t a crane fly or there are species with an adaptation. Something that looks the way the ovipositor is described (elongated, blunt tube) emerges from the posterior of the insect when it is grabbed. The insect curls up as if trying to bring its posterior nearer to where I am gripping it. It probes around. But a much smaller (though still visible to the naked eye) and definitely sharp stinger-looking object emerges either out of the ovipositor or from underneath it. It moves in and out and looks for all the world like it is trying to find purchase in something. (ME!) I have also not been stung yet, but I’d just as soon avoid that, as reading from these other posters, doesn’t sound fun!

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    • Oh, meant to mention that this was in Montana. I’ve seen many of these critters here, and I’ve grabbed them many times. It is always the same as described above.

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  • Jennifer Dockter
    November 8, 2018 10:13 pm

    I was stung 2 days ago by a crane fly and it wasn’t even because I was trying to handle it. I was sitting outside minding my own business and it flew at me landing on my wrist then stung me. It was a pretty painful sting. Today it is super swollen and very itchy. My boyfriend was stung on his hand last year when he tried to catch one to release it outside. I don’t know why everyone keeps saying they don’t sting when clearly they do.

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  • I found this page because I too googled after being bitten, stung or jabbed by what looked like a crane fly.
    The bites / jabs / stings happened a few days ago, and the site is still red, swollen and itchy. The bug was inside my dressing gown when I put it on, which it obviously wasn’t very pleased about. The first couple of bites, jabs or stings were pretty minor. They felt like perhaps a course thread, or plastic shopping tag was digging into my skin. But the last 3 were quite painful, and believe me, you’ve never seen someone leap out of a dressing gown so fast! Lol.
    I wish I’d thought to take a photo of the bug to get a positive ID on it. Regardless, I shall be taking a closer look at all of the “crane flies” I see from now on, to see if they’re actually crane flies, or ichneumon wasps.
    I’m in Brisbane, Australia.

    Reply
  • I found this page because I too googled after being bitten, stung or jabbed by what looked like a crane fly.
    The bites / jabs / stings happened a few days ago, and the site is still red, swollen and itchy. The bug was inside my dressing gown when I put it on, which it obviously wasn’t very pleased about. The first couple of bites, jabs or stings were pretty minor. They felt like perhaps a course thread, or plastic shopping tag was digging into my skin. But the last 3 were quite painful, and believe me, you’ve never seen someone leap out of a dressing gown so fast! Lol.
    I wish I’d thought to take a photo of the bug to get a positive ID on it. Regardless, I shall be taking a closer look at all of the “crane flies” I see from now on, to see if they’re actually crane flies, or ichneumon wasps.
    I’m in Brisbane, Australia.

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  • Stacey Kaumo
    April 7, 2019 10:01 pm

    I’m here in canton Texas and after a couple of weeks of removing these guys with no incident, I was finally stung. Totally shocked I screamed ! It packs a nice little walp. Worse than a bee but not as bad as a wasp. VERY SHOCKING!

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  • me to, but it was red.

    i got a bite todat.

    Tuesday, April 9, 2019

    Reply
  • me to, but it was red.

    i got a bite todat.

    Tuesday, April 9, 2019

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  • Codie D French
    May 14, 2019 11:08 pm

    Ok obviosly these crane flys bite!! Stop telling us they dont. My daughter was litterally just bit or stung in the chin by one and i had to kill it. Knowone can make me believe by any scientific anything that this dis not just happen. I believe what i see not what someone is trying to convince me. And she cried. It hurts and her chin is now red and swollen. I will be killing everyone i see from this point on.

    Reply
    • We are terribly sorry about your daughters unfortunate encounter.
      We have always relied upon the opinion of one of the most recognized Dipterists specializing in Crane Flies for our responses, but the numerous challenges and testimonials otherwise we regularly receive has created doubt, so we pose some alternate possibilities:
      A. Mutant insects that mimic Crane Flies and have evolved to protect Mother Earth to save her from mankind.
      B. Russian drones.
      C. Corporal manifestations from an alternate Universe.
      D. Mass Hysteria
      E. Other

      Reply
  • Bugman.. You are an idiot. Not even worth a reply but seeing your mindless attempt at a reply, i will tell you that your source is obviously not up to speed on any of the habits of the female crane fly as you like you want to believe he is. I dont believe what i hear or by far what i read but i do believe in what i see. Goodbye felicia.

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  • Seneca Spurling
    May 16, 2019 10:01 am

    all my life, I’ve believed these things to be harmless. got one in our camper van two nights ago, and cought it to put it out and wow, it bit or stung me. no idea which but it did hurt quite a bit, I shrieked loudly! the spot it got me on my palm was briefly red, but didn’t stay irritated for too long, it was gone by the next morning. the pain was bothersome for 10 to 15 minutes but then subsided. felt almost like burning, with waves of feeling something similar to an adrenaline rush. not something I wish to experience again, I will not handle anything like this again. unfortunately I don’t have a photo. certainly it could be some insect that’s much like a crane fly but different. if so, I’d like to understand what it was and how to tell it today. this was in Ashland, Oregon, at night. it seemed attracted to the light in my van. it flew like a crane fly, not exactly elegant. it was about an inch and a half in size.

    Reply
    • What’s That Bug? will no longer weigh in on the stinging potential of Crane Flies since so many of our readers seem to offer challenges to the long accepted opinion of experts that they do not sting nor bite.

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  • I live in Iowa and have been stung by one of these upon attempting to carry it outside. I had no idea they were capable of stinging but they most certainly are and it is most very painful.

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    • We have always relied upon the opinion of experts like Dr. Chen Young that Crane Flies neither sting nor bite. You might have been stung by a similar looking Ichneumon.

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  • I was stung by one over 30 years ago… Nobody believed me! And still dont to this day!

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  • I am reading all these reports of people saying how they have been stung or bitten by the crane fly and I can vouch, I was stung by one last night. And I took tons of photos and video of what did it. So if you’d like to tell me that the footage I have isn’t a crane fly, I’ll listen. Please email me at thelasvegasmermaid@gmail.com

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  • I just got stung by one of these so yes yes yes they do sting don’t let them tell you anything different I was just trying to find out if the sting was harmful.

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  • SE Colorado – I was definitely bit by a “innocent” believed crane fly. Picked it up to take it outside and it bit me. Week later still have a itchy bump.

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  • Hello I’m in the UK. We have loads of innocent Crane Flies invading us at this time of year. Last week I was awakened from a deep sleep & felt “ something “ biting my neck( no not my husband ). I turned the light on and there on my pillow was a Crane Fly which was quickly dispatched! It left quite a hard itchy lump on my neck for several days. I’m 75. It’s never happened before. I’m guessing “ Evolution “.

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  • hi I am in Holland, These evo’s have a couple of filamentous instars before the they reach 1mm and may even lay eggs in callus of the foot.

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  • I was just stung by a Crane fly. I tried to pick it up with a plastic bag and it stung me. I thought they were harmless, too. I immediately went to the web to see if they were known for biting. I agree with all the other comments that they do indeed sting or bite. I have the same symptoms as the others.I live in North Texas.

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  • Bob Bridges
    April 9, 2020 6:48 pm

    ~Something~ that looked like a giant mosquito stung me when I was young. If it wasn’t a crane fly but looked so much like one that I cannot nowadays tell the difference, then it’s not helpful to say “crane flies don’t sting” and leave it at that, because obviously some of us know better. More helpful, I think, to explain what ~does~ sting and looks like a crane fly — and explain, if possible, how to tell the difference.

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  • My fiancee got stung killing one of these this evening. Shocked us both as we thought it was a mayfly in the lamplight. This was in Nebraska so they are here too.

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  • Tommy Mellem
    June 7, 2020 2:31 am

    Hello. I live in Norway. I also grew up beliving they didn’t sting, and i can’t remember beeing stung as a child. But a couple years ago i was stung by one, and i took one that stung my son aswell.

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  • CRANE FLIES DON’T STING! I CATCH THEM ALL THE TIME, AND I CATCH FEMALES. THEY DON’T STING

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  • Hello. I was just stung on my wrist by one of these! I’m glad I came across this thread because I never knew it was possible!!!

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  • Well it seems it’s either a Crane Fly that has evolved or a Short-Tailed Ichneumon Wasp. Doesn’t matter, just got stung by one, on the edge of my index finger, don’t pick these up by their wings. Ouch.

    So i guess both insects live in Eastern Kentucky, that would explain a lot. They only come out in the evening and at night. As a kid, I thought they were Male sqeeters, now I know it’s either a fly or a wasp. You learn something new everyday.

    So in conclusion, if you Googled this, like i did, you either got stung/bit by an evolved Crane Fly OR a Short-Tailed Ichneumon Wasp, either way it hurts and might leave a sore, but it doesn’t seem to be dangerous to humans.

    Reply
  • Well it seems it’s either a Crane Fly that has evolved or a Short-Tailed Ichneumon Wasp. Doesn’t matter, just got stung by one, on the edge of my index finger, don’t pick these up by their wings. Ouch.

    So i guess both insects live in Eastern Kentucky, that would explain a lot. They only come out in the evening and at night. As a kid, I thought they were Male sqeeters, now I know it’s either a fly or a wasp. You learn something new everyday.

    So in conclusion, if you Googled this, like i did, you either got stung/bit by an evolved Crane Fly OR a Short-Tailed Ichneumon Wasp, either way it hurts and might leave a sore, but it doesn’t seem to be dangerous to humans.

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  • Shane Mitchell
    June 16, 2021 2:17 pm

    Yes they CAN sting, it hurts like heck, I have been stung by a number of these I live in south central Kansas, the scientists are wrong! They sting very hard, much worse than a wasp, similar to a harvester ant sting.

    Reply
  • Callum Smith
    August 3, 2021 2:01 pm

    Hi Bugman, can the female Ichneumon or Crane Fly lay eggs in your skin?
    ‘Stung’ by one today, felt a pain on my knee while I was out walking, had a look and it looked like it was trying to inject me.

    Reply
  • Callum Smith
    August 3, 2021 2:06 pm

    Hi Bugman, can the female Ichneumon or Crane Fly lay eggs in your skin? Was out on a walk felt a sting on my knee, it looked like it was trying to inject me.

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  • I was stung early yesterday morning by what I believed was a crane fly. It looked red in colour. I live in Gloucestershire UK and we are in the crane fly season. It was a painful sting and today I have a large red patch like a burn on my wrist which is quite sore.

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  • I live in West Sussex and found this thread on the internet because I was stung by a crane fly yesterday evening whilst cupping one in my hand to carry out of the house. I have done it many many times before (I’m in my 60’s) and was somewhat shocked (hence the post) when I felt the sting. It’s been very itchy and red with a tiny blister at the puncture site on the inside of my L ring finger.

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  • Zoology student
    March 11, 2022 7:55 am

    I am a zoology student in England. I, too, cupped a crane fly in my hand (last academic year during a practical class) and was astonished as I felt it pierce my skin – I instantly released it. I later turned to the internet to explain this, finding very unsatisfactory responses of ‘no’. It has been over a year now, and my thumb STILL has the purple dotted mark from the ‘jabbing’.
    It is frustrating that seemingly no one has researched this and mis-information of ‘not possible’ is apparently believed by inexperienced experts. I respect scientists and experts, but it DOES seem likely that crane flies use their ovipositors to pierce threats.

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  • Colette Proctor
    September 25, 2022 3:29 am

    THEY STING… PERIOD‼️ I have been stung three times by them and so have my children. I thought it was something in our skin because mosquitoes tear me up as well. But then I learned that the more carbon dioxide you put off the more bugs are attracted to you. I am here to tell you though that crane flies do Pierce skin and it is awfully painful. After we have been stung and tilt them we have kept them and looked them up on the internet and they were indeed crane flies not the wasps!

    Reply
  • I was just “stung” by one of these creatures; it was similar to an electric shock or a bee sting! There is a white center around where it pierced the skin and the skin around it is turning red.

    I have pictures of both the insect and bite on my hand. I live in Massachusetts and this insect had gotten in my garage and stung me when I cupped just hand around it to help it out the door. The OPs experience is similar to mine so figured I’d share…. If this is a crane fly they definitely can bite/sting and it hurts more than I’d expect!

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  • I’m in Portugal. Got stung today. Like a “mild” version of a bee – but it still hurt. Went to the internet – found this thread. Was trying to move it outside of the house. Will never touch those things again. It really hurt.

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  • I just got stung by a crane fly too! My husband told me flat out, no, they cannot sting. I asked him why my foot is hurting and he told me I was a hypochondriac 😂
    It’s red and swollen around the area so I came to google to see if it could be something else and found this post.
    It looks exactly like a crane fly. It charged at me twice, out of no where. I’ve never experienced anything like it.

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  • I’m a biologist with a masters degree and know my insects well. I’ve handled crane flies for years (taking them out of my house). Just got “stung” by one. Very surprising and quite painful. But the pain dissipated quickly.

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    • I’m glad we have had a insect pro have first hand experience on this matter finally.

      I know for decades it was understood that Crane Flys don’t sting, but perhaps in the last 5-8 yrs they have adapted to using there hind end to deter predators (humans) from messing with them. Mother nature Can adapt after all.

      Reply
  • I was stung by one when I was a child and it hurt like hell this was in Southeastern Oklahoma no one believe me. I have not touched one since except to smash it I live in Oklahoma City currently and they are everywhere this year

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  • I live in Southern California and I have handled hundreds of crane flies to remove them from the house. I have been stung twice by the females. The first time was in 2008 the second time was 4 days ago. Painful, but no swelling for me either time. However, this recent sting left a discolored purple spot beneath the skin on my index finger.

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  • Harmless fly? Doesn’t sting? I beg to differ! I was kneeling in the living room floor a few minutes ago playing with my dog when I felt this thing on my shin. Stood up and looked down and did not know what I was looking at had never seen an insect like this before so I’ll Google instead and it come up the crane fly I have a small hole in my leg with a Singer went through and its burning pretty good right now and it’s actually starting to turn right around it.

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  • Hello I have been looking for answers! What can I do? I have been “jab” by one too! It was red like or orange like color it hurt like a MF now 3 days later it’s red swelling and itching. But I don’t wanna go to the doctor and pay more then $100 just to check it out. Is there some remedies so it stops hurting or swelling OR GETTING BIGGER!
    I’m from Denver Colorado and I have always killed them thinking they were mosquitoes.
    Silly me I WAS RIGHT!
    Handled it with my bare hand I was in the shower and it started trying to hit me MAD (my guessing she didn’t like water) so I’m here trying to get it out of the running water and YEAP she stung me pretty bad. Now I have a swelling index finger, can’t bend it from all the swelling and itchy like a mosquitos bite!
    I’ve put ice don’t work, antibiotics cream NOTHING…
    HELP!!

    Reply
  • I too have cupped the mosquito hawks in my hands for years to throw them back outside.
    Yesterday I did that and felt a sting. I still got it out with a towel, but was semi shocked that it was able to do that to me.
    Reading on here, the butt was more of a blunt sturdy end than normal..
    It still hurts today!

    Reply

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