Mosquitoes – Look Alikes

If you believe that you are having a problem with mosquitoes in your area, first ask yourself, "Am I being bitten?" There are many species of insects that are often mistaken for mosquitoes, but are harmless. You know you have a real mosquito problem if you are being bitten.

Midges
Midges are non-biting flies that resemble mosquitoes in size and general appearance. They are approximately a half-inch in length and light green to brown in color.

They develop and breed in aquatic habitats similar to mosquitoes. Residents living near the following reservoirs, lakes, ponds and flood control channels are frequently annoyed by midge swarms.

Midges are usually a problem from April to September, and survive the winter as larvae in mud and at the water bottom. Swarms usually emerge at sunset.

Crane flies (a.k.a.—mosquito eaters, mosquito hawks)
Despite their common name, crane flies do not prey on mosquitoes as adults, nor do they bite humans.

Adults are very slender, long-legged fliers that may vary in length. Smaller species are mosquito-sized, but they can be distinguished from mosquitoes by the V-shaped suture on the thorax, non-piercing mouthparts, and a lack of scales on the wing veins.

Some larval (immature) crane flies may on occasion feed on mosquito larvae but they do not feed on adult mosquitoes. Adult crane flies feed on nectar or they do not feed at all; once they become adults, most crane fly species only live long enough to mate and die.

Gnats
Adult gnats do not bite humans yet are often considered a nuisance. Gnats are dark, delicate-looking insects, similar in appearance to mosquitoes. They have slender legs with segmented antennae that are longer than their head. They are relatively weak fliers and are not often found flying around indoors. They generally remain near potted plants and organic debris.

Gnat larvae have a shiny black head and an elongate, legless body. They feed on moist organic debris such as leaf mold, grass clippings, compost and fungi.

The adult males often assemble together in large mating swarms, particularly at dusk.

 



Midge

 


Crane Fly

 


Gnat

Did you know?
An adult female mosquito consumes about 5-millionths of a liter of blood in a single meal.