February 16, 2021
Whether you live in Montclair, Verona, Short Hills, Union or anywhere in between, you surely have felt the bite of New Jersey’s biggest nuisance—the mosquito, but can you tell the difference between mosquitoes and two of their imposters, crane flies and gnats?
Crane flies may look like mosquitoes on steroids, but they are harmless to people and pets. While huge and scary, they actually don’t bite (they don’t even possess the mouth parts to bite) nor do they transmit disease!
- Unlike mosquitoes, crane flies do not breed in standing water, but prefer rotting vegetation and other decaying matter.
- Crane flies play an important role in the environment, as both a food source for birds and fish and as an indicator of good water quality in standing water. So, if you are ever lost in the wilderness and need to choose water from two ponds, skip the one that is crystal clear with no crane flies buzzing around it—odds are this water is toxic and will not be doing you any favors!
- From the time they are born, crane flies work hard to improve the environment—as larvae they play an important role in breaking down the waste in both water and soil, converting it into a rich organic material used by other organisms.
- Yes, crane flies can be a nuisance when they get into your home, banging into the ceiling and windows, but the good news is, their life cycle is extremely short, and they live only a few days.
- Gnats or midges are actually tiny flies.
- There are over 4,000 species in seventy-eight genera identified worldwide, including over 600 species in thirty-six genera in North America.
- Because of their attraction to carbon dioxide, gnats love to fly directly into your nose, mouth, eyes and ears and are so small they can fly through screen windows and doors!
- Unlike most mosquitoes, gnats are active in the day and prefer to be in the sunlight.
- Gnats also tend to fly in swarms, so that ball of bugs you see at dusk in the middle of your lawn are gnats and not mosquitoes.
- Another big difference between gnats and mosquitoes is that gnats, like crane flies, feed off the organic matter in the ground, whereas mosquitoes feed off the nectar and sugar in plant and tree leaves.
- Only four of the thirty-six genera of midges in North America fall into the category of biting midges, commonly referred to as no-see-ums, because—you guessed it—they are very hard to see.
- Biting midges are a huge nuisance, but, unlike mosquitoes, are not known to carry diseases that affect humans.
- No-see-ums do not bite through clothing the way mosquitoes might, and you may not even realize you’ve been attacked by these ankle biters until much later when the bites start to swell up and become very itchy and even painful.
- Non-biting midges or gnats are similar to no-see-ums, but they are incapable of biting people or animals. They do not possess a proboscis (the long needle-like mouth extension) like mosquitoes nor the mouthparts of a biting midge.
We hope that with this information has provided you with a successful introductory understanding of the differences between crane flies, gnats and mosquitoes. While our Mosquito Hunters treatments will kill both crane flies and gnats when they are active, we do not treat these nuisance pests’ habitats, and they will likely return. Gnats, in particular, are difficult to eliminate and require an extraordinary number of treatments.Back