How to Get Rid of Crane Flies: Detailed Identification & Removal Guide

Those giant mosquitoes are on the attack! When you see them buzzing around your property, you might think they’re mosquitoes, but they’re not.

Despite the fact that their larvae are harmless, be aware that their adults can cause damage to the grass.

For people who don’t want to call pest control companies, this manual provides practical advice on how to get rid of crane flies effectively. 

Taking action immediately is essential if crane flies are eating your flowers, fruits, and crops.

The main fear of these insects is insecticides, as well as natural predators, like birds.

When crane flies are present, the grass turns yellow, there are brown patches of dead grass, or bare patches of dirt can be seen.

These are a few common reasons that insist homeowners remove these annoying flies from their property. 

This is the reason we are here to provide you with the solution and tell you how you can easily get rid of these files easily. 

So without any further time wasting let’s get started, 

What Crane Flies Are?

Crane Flies

Mosquito hawks and crane flies both are the same. Pests that thrive in both the Northwest and Northeast are called invasive lawn pests.

Crane flies that live in North America attack decaying leaves, while European species attack grass and pastures.

Crane flies are found in abundance in North America and Europe. These insects can be found in over 15000 varieties worldwide.

The larvae of crane flies are also known as leatherjackets. This larva is green, white, or brown in color, it depends.

It might shock you but the larvae of crane flies can live up to one year bur under the ground.


Crane flies resemble mosquitoes with large legs. Their wingspan normally reaches 2.5 inches.

Their heads are covered with long antennae. When females try to attract males, their colors are more vivid.

Female species have a stinger-like ovipositor at the end of the abdomen. The ovipositor is only used for laying eggs, it’s not for stinging.


Larvae found in soil eggs pose the greatest threat to your harvest. Eggs hatch within 24 hours. Larvae usually hatch at the end of the summer.

These larvas are more like worms. Spring and fall are the best times for larvae to feed on plants. Larvae spend the winter underground.

When spring comes, pupae emerge. Crane flies complete their life cycle in summer or fall when they emerge as adults.

How To Get Rid Of Crane Flies:

Crane Flies

Getting rid of crane flies is not very hard all you need to do is follow these written below steps exactly.

However, they are not useful either, as they do not harm humans.

Step 1. Identify Your Enemy:

If you are doing identification for the first time then it will be quite difficult for you but it’s not impossible so dont lose hope.

In order to identify these crane flies, you need to know what they exactly look like because if you dont know how these insects look you are not going to get rid of them anyway.

Some people get confused between mosquitoes and crane flies because they are very similar.

Read these written below points properly.

  • They are bigger than mosquitoes, for sure.
  • The flies, which look like a spider with wings and long legs, make mosquitoes look inconspicuous; and although mosquitoes can fly almost unnoticed, they are hard to miss.
  • The body of crane flies is very slim and long.
  • Their legs are not pressed closely like the mosquito’s legs.
  • Crane flies do not have any mouths whereas mosquitoes have.

Step 2. Identifying Larvae:

Identifying Larvae

Finding and identifying the leatherjackets or larvae of crane flies is quite easy, they are more like worms. 

Start your searching from the areas where moist soil and turfgrass are present as they bury themselves under these.

Their main food source is plant roots and they come out very occasionally.

Mostly these larvae come out at night time just for eating the fruits and flowers from your garden or yard areas.

Larvae have these main features.

  • Size is up to 1 inch. 
  • Doesn’t have any legs. 
  • The dark line of its gut can be seen easily. 
  • They only live in moist soil. 
  • They are green or grey in color. 
  • The body is segmented, fleshy, and chubby.

Step 3. Crane Flies Measures:

Leatherjackets feed on your plants and are your primary enemy.

The crane fly comes out in summer after it has grown from larvae to an adult, which is when they are most active.

Larvae will be present from the end of summer to early spring. They can only survive for a few days. 


Verify whether killing larvae is as beneficial as killing adults. In the moist areas of your yard apply the insecticides properly.

There are different insecticides for example imidacloprid, pyrethroid, and neem oil that can be used easily for killing these crane flies or larvae.

These insecticides cause paralysis to these flies and due to paralysis, they die very soon.

But make sure when you are using these insecticides dont forget to wear gloves and glasses for eyes and skin protection otherwise you may get harmed as these insecticides are very strong.


The use of repellents as a preventative measure. Keep the area free of crane flies by applying repellents.

Since you don’t have to come in contact with the insects’ habitat, it might be safer than insecticide for you.

These chemicals are similar to those in insecticides but are already mixed with water, so they are ready for use and they will be less harmful also.

Natural Predators:

Larvae are eaten by birds. You can scare crane flies away by attracting birds to your yard.

If you are one of those people who dont mind birds invading your personal garden or yard area then you can simply install a bird feeder, as a result of this your garden will be free from larvae.

Make sure you are providing enough water to these birds. But make sure you are not inviting more birds otherwise you get in more trouble.

Birds can be more dangerous to you than crane flies if they are present in large quantities in your garden.

Preventive Measures:

It is easy to relax after learning how to kill crane flies. You don’t feel threatened since the larvae have all been exterminated.

Now that you know what crane flies are, it’s time to ask how to stop them. 

  • If you have any moist space or damp spots get rid of them. 
  • From time to time check the drains that are present in your yards.
  • If your garden areas have any leftovers or wood pieces get rid of them as they attract the crane flies.  

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why Do I Have so Many Crane Flies?

If your yard has a sunlight lacking problem then this might be one of the biggest reasons.

Thick bushes and fallen leaves are also the features that attract crane flies.

Do Crane Flies Eat Mosquitoes?

The simple answer is no. Crane flies do not eat mosquitoes at all. Whether it’s adult or larvae they dont consume mosquitoes.

Also Read: How to Get Rid of Water Bugs: Detailed Identification & Removal Guide

Wrapping It All Up!!

I hope that finally after this article, you get to know how to get rid of crane flies effectively without causing any harm.

We have discussed almost every point but still if you are facing any problems feel free to comment. 

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