They’re Not Giant Mosquitos

They're Not Giant Mosquitos

Holly Hatcher, Main News Writer

I have multitudinous memories of myself as a young child, gallivanting around a yard chasing what I called “floppy bugs”. The mystical creatures would soar out of the grass as I ran across the yard, creating a flurry of movement around me as the clumsy bugs flopped through the air, gusts of wind blowing them about.

Alas, not everyone shared my affinity for the small, harmless critters. I distinctly remember a defenseless floppy bug resting upon a cement sidewalk at recess in elementary school. One of my peers lifted up his foot and I dove to intercept his stomp before the floppy bug met its impending doom. I argued against his beliefs that it was a mosquito, and he finally left while I picked up the bug and promptly placed it in a safe area of the playground.

I’ve discovered what so called “floppy bugs” are since then. They are crane flies, a harmless species that definitely does not drink blood. Crane flies, as a matter of fact, don’t eat at all. They have short lifespans and commonly appear in mass amounts during spring. They are easy to identify, being larger than a mosquito and having long legs and wings. Crane flies are quite beneficial to the environment, actually. They are known, in their larvae stage, to process organic material, much like earthworms. In addition, crane fly larvae can actually feed on mosquito larvae (which is why crane flies are nicknamed mosquito hawks). Along with this, grown crane flies are great prey for many other beneficial bugs, fish, birds, and mammals.

In my experience, there are still many that don’t know the true identity of these “giant mosquitoes”. Many people I know have run in fright away from crane flies, yelling misnomers about these Texan abominations (which are actually found worldwide). For multiple of these instances, the people seemed genuine, not joking. Even if someone doesn’t believe crane flies are mosquitoes, maybe they just don’t know what else to call them or what they truly are.

Yes, these are very abundant creatures in number, but they’re honestly very comical to watch. There isn’t really a reason to kill them, and, though their population remains unharmed, it isn’t absolutely necessary for someone to smush every crane fly they come across. The humble crane fly is just a simple bug that won’t be here long. Catch them, watch them, or ignore them, but they’re nothing to fuss over.