Crane Fly vs. Mosquito: What's the Difference?

Crane Fly vs. Mosquito: What's the Difference?

May 31, 2023

Mosquitoes are not pleasant creatures. Not only do they bite humans, but their bites are relentlessly itchy and carry dangerous viruses for humans and animals.

You've likely had a bug that looks like a big mosquito sneak into your house at some point. You always know when one has come in because they tend to bang around on your ceilings and walls. These insects may appear intimidating or clumsy, and while many people believe they are giant mosquitoes, they're actually crane flies. There are some similarities between crane flies and mosquitoes, but for the most part, the two flying insects are completely different.

With 5,000 species of crane flies and over 3,000 of mosquitoes, chances are good you have seen some of each hanging around your residential or commercial property, though you may have a difficult time telling them apart unless you know how to spot the differences.

Appearance and habitat

The biggest similarity between a crane fly and a mosquito is its appearance. They have similar shapes, but the crane fly is much larger. Crane flies have extremely long legs compared to the size of their body, and they have a wider wingspan than mosquitoes though at first glance crane flies are a giant mosquito looking bug.

However, if you don't have a mosquito right next to the crane fly, it might be difficult to tell which one it is. The position of the insect's body can help in this instance. A crane fly has a straight body and will rest with its wings out, while a mosquito is usually humped in form, thanks to its bent thorax, and keeps its wings folded.

Mosquitoes and crane flies are also similar in their habitats. Both species lay their eggs in moist areas and live in water during the larval stage, which explains why you often find them near bodies of water.


If you find a crane fly inside your home, it likely ended up there by accident. These insects are attracted to light, which draws them inside. If you see one in your home, it most likely is lost and looking for a way back out.

When they're wobbling against walls, doors and ceilings, it's because they're trying to get out and back to their breeding grounds. However, mosquitoes can willingly live indoors, especially if there's water. You can find them near potted plants you have inside. If there is water nearby, mosquitoes can stay for a long time and happily dine on your blood when you are asleep or unaware of their presence.

Lifespan and activity

A crane fly can live on average 10 to 15 days, while a mosquito's lifespan is shorter. Male mosquitoes usually only live about a week, while female mosquitoes can hang in there longer than two weeks.

Crane flies and mosquitoes also have different times when they are most active. Crane flies are nocturnal, and because they are attracted to light, you tend to see them weaving around outdoor lights. On the other hand, mosquitoes are crepuscular, so they get busy at dawn and dusk when sunlight is not as intense.

Blood meals

One of the most significant differences between a mosquito and a crane fly is that a crane fly does not bite or sting you. They are completely harmless to humans and don't even have mouths. Crane flies only eat during the larval stage, and they feed on plants, not blood. Because they do not bite or have mouth parts that allow them to bite, crane flies do not carry viruses and transfer them to humans and livestock like mosquitos do.

Female mosquitoes will feed on your blood using a needle-like mouth called a proboscis to puncture your skin, which is how they can transmit serious diseases like malaria, Zika, West Nile and dengue fever. Only female mosquitoes feed on humans and animals because they need blood proteins to develop eggs. Male mosquitoes stick to plants and usually feed on nectar and other plant derived snacks.

Biting mosquitoes carry viruses that can infect you and your family. If you are noticing a number of mosquitoes on your property or mosquito bites on you or your family, it is a good idea to get protection for your outdoor spaces. Eradicating flying, biting insects like mosquitoes will lessen your risk of being infected with mosquito carrying diseases.

Mosquito and Flying Insect Control Services from MosquitoNix®

Mosquitoes can harm humans and pets by spreading disease and other flying insects like crane flies are a nuisance hanging around your property.

The experts here at MosquitoNix are here to help protect your property from unwanted pests. We offer a variety of mosquito control services to match your unique needs. We offer automatic and on demand misting systems for long term mosquito control around your home or business.

Our fogging treatments are a great solution for hosting events and both our misting and fogging services are also available in an eco-friendly alternative. To rid your home or property of mosquitoes, flies, ticks and more, contact us for a free quote today.

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