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You learn something new everyday

April 16, 2007

This is a Crane Fly, aka Mosquito Hawk, Mosquito Eater, Skeeter Eater, and Jimmy Spinner. For many years this insect has been treated with disdain and persecuted (shoe-slapped) by my wife and I. After all, it is a mosquito – that most hated of all insects – and a large one at that.

Recently, though, I was told that I should welcome this bug with open arms because he is the mortal enemy of the mosquito. In fact, a nice, plump skeeter is his favorite meal. I did not know this.

Today was a beautiful day, so we left the windows open. We forgot to close them in the evening and a few mosquitos got in. So did two Mosquito Hawks. I shut the door and let the assassins do their thing. They did it well. Unfortunately for them, they’re still bugs and Denise made me introduce them to the bottom of a flip-flop. So I guess this post is in remembrance of them. RIP skeeter eaters.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2007 1:42 am

    So…..can you transplant some of those down here to FL? I have never heard of those and I’m pretty sure we don’t have those down here?????????? Erin

  2. Angela permalink
    May 2, 2007 10:52 pm

    FYI – I did some research and unfortunately, your friend is wrong. “Skeeter eaters’ or whatever they’re called in any region, do not eat mosquitos. Mosquito Hawks is the name given to dragon flies (which do eat mosquitos) and Crane flies (which don’t eat skeeters). Go to learn more. I have been told the same misinformation as you and learned that it is an old wives’ tale. Do some research into it and you’ll find numerous sources that back up my discovery. Thanks.

  3. Max permalink
    September 4, 2007 1:28 pm

    I live in NY and i get those from time to time. Not common, but they exist. You should welcome them with open arms, true but you shouldn’t let them crawl on you cause if there isnt a plump skeeter around they have been known to feed on plump humans.

  4. Ken permalink
    March 24, 2008 9:23 pm

    Toxorhynchites are basically forest mosquitoes. The larval habitats are mainly tree-holes and bamboo, but a few species are found in leaf axils, pitcher plants, rock-pools, and artificial containers. The larvae of all species are predacious. They feed mainly on the larvae of other mosquito species, but exhibit cannibalism in the absence of suitable prey. Males and females both feed exclusively on nectar and other sugary substances. The adults are active during the day. The Lavae eat mosquitoes the adults are vegatarians. Thay have bean transplanted in regeons because thay pose no threat to man and do eat other mosquitoes.

  5. hans permalink
    April 8, 2008 12:16 am

    yeah this is a crane fly which only feeds on the juices from the roots of grasses.. they pose no threat whatsoever to anyone or anything..

  6. Debbi permalink
    April 23, 2008 4:00 pm

    I had these “Mosquito Hawks” in abundance in Oklahoma – when they were abundant, I never had misquitoes regardless of the fact that I had potted plants and standing water in some of the bases of those that may have become stagnant (a good breeding ground for mosquitoes.)

    After a couple of years, I got around to calling them “fairies” because if I was cutting the lawn and they were flying around (the light reflected off of their huge wings), I knew I could pass on the “full body bug spray.”

    Some folks, recently, have tried to tell me that they are actually male misquitoes and should be killed.

    Based on personal experience, whenever they are around, I’ve not been ravaged (or even bitten) by a mosquito. If they are actually male misquitoes, they must be “hitmen” and really ticked of at their female (biting) counterparts!

    Whatever the case, when they are present, the mosquitoes seem to be absent – if they are simply male mosquitoes, whatever…in my book, they are advantageous to me and my pets. I treat for heartworms every month – regardless of season. If these humongous mosquitoes lessen the chance that my puppies will get heartworms…go for it! Let them live!

    If you have alternative information, I’d love to see it…I’ve heard lots of different stuff about them and can only go on personal experience. If they are detrimental in some way, I guess I would like to know…

  7. April 24, 2008 3:40 pm

    Thanks for all the responses. We live near Nashville, TN and we’re in the midst of an infestation of these mosquito hawks… they’re everywhere. I’m sure it’s mating season, but does anyone out there know if this is usual, and if so, how do we manage it? Everytime we open our front door we get about 5 of these critters in the house…. of course, we’ve noticed nary a mosquito, so it could be worse.

    Debbi, I loved your description of the mosquito hawks as fairies. I thought about that all day today as I was walking through grass and they were scattering in all directions, the sun glistening in their wings.

  8. Josh permalink
    May 15, 2008 12:23 pm

    Not sure about the crane fly feeding on mosquitos. I wish they did, because I’d keep them as pets! I had a monster mosquito feed on my right ear last night, and I could have used some help finding and killing him! I look like a mutant with this swollen red growth coming out the side of my head that used to be an ear. When I finally did kill the mosquito, I might as well have taken his swatted carcass to the lab to get my blood work done. He had quite a full tank!

    Anyway, if you want to see a cool crane fly, look for the phantom crane fly. It’s absolutely beautiful with its black and white markings, and it flies by catching air in its big white feet. The legs spread apart like a six pointed star, and the bug floats, spinning slowly round and round in circles before it gently lands on something.

  9. Phoenix permalink
    June 15, 2008 9:06 am

    Not sure if this is a crane fly or a mosquito, but the facts are.
    -Crane Flies dont eat mosquitos, even though they are called Mosquito eaters 😦
    -As already mentioned there is a mosquito species eating other mosquitos (Toxorhynchites) but that is only on their larvae stage, so bad luck for us again.
    -And concerning males and females, usually male mosquitos have larger and hairy antennas while they never blood suck. Females -of some species- bloodsuck before reproduction, and have a different thingy to sting you with. Other than that, to my knowledge, males and females look about the same (though males usually are a bit smaller!)

    Also to my personal observation and knowledge, this kind of huge mosquito (that looks like crane fly) does not bloodsuck!

  10. Mosquito Hawk permalink
    July 25, 2008 11:14 pm


  11. billy bob permalink
    May 18, 2010 12:25 am

    hi vicky!!

  12. Katey permalink
    June 4, 2010 11:36 pm

    I’ve always called them Skeeta Hawks. And the spiders are called GRAND Daddy Long Legs. I’m from the South though, so what do I know? And it’s just a misnomer. People do that all the time, so quit getting your underwear in a twist.
    “THANKS” 😛

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