The other day I noticed my dog, Carlos, jumping at something through the window.
Upon further inspection, I noticed swarms of large mosquito-like flies on my porch.
You may be asking, so what are these mosquito-like bugs, and why are they so abundant?
Crane flies, incorrectly known as “mosquito hawks,” are large, brown flies with long legs.
Their long legs are easily broken, so you may see one with only four or five. All true flies, like the Crane fly, have two pairs of wings.
However, the second pair of wings are modified into clubs or “halteres.”
These halteres aid in flight — some say similar to a gyroscope — and can be easily seen on a specimen as large as the Crane fly.
Take a closer look the next time you see one.
Contrary to their common name, adults and larvae of Crane flies do not feed on mosquitoes.
The larvae of Crane flies are large, grey brown, thick and cylindrical.
Crane fly larvae have chewing mouthparts, helping them decompose vegetation.
The larvae may be found under layers of wet leaves or under compost piles in winter. As many have seen recently, adult Crane flies emerge in early spring.
However, adults do not feed, only mate.
Depending on the species, adult crane flies can live in moist areas like woodlands and streams, or in dry rangeland and open fields.
Because they only feed on decaying organic matter, Crane flies should be considered beneficial decomposers.
The flies are harmless to humans and plant life, similar to 97 percent of all insects.
Crane flies have no interest in blood-sucking and should not be confused with their smaller cousin, the mosquito.
In addition, Crane flies serve as a food source for other wildlife as well.
So, don't go crazy with insecticides, the birds need something to eat too.
Tracey Payton Miller is horticulture educator for the Cleveland County Extension Service in Norman.
To learn more
If you have questions about insects in the lawn or garden, call a Cleveland County master gardener at 321-4774 or email ccmastergardener@