Do you have “giant” mosquitoes flying around your home? Are you getting “swarms” stuck to your window or door? These insects may not be mosquitoes. There are many insects in LA County that emerge at the same time as mosquitoes and some of them are harmless. Here are a few insects that are commonly mistaken for mosquitoes and the good news is that nearly all of the “mosquito imposters” have very short life spans. Give them time and they’ll be gone.

Crane Fly: Is it a GIANT Mosquito or is it a Mosquito Killer?

Crane flies are long-legged insects and are much larger than a mosquito. They’re commonly referred to as “mosquito killers” or “mosquito hawks” but these harmless insects don’t feed on mosquitoes or humans but on nectar. That’s right – CRANE FLIES DON’T BITE. Crane flies develop in moist soil or water and mostly emerge in early spring to fall, especially during warm weather after a rain event.

Insects-mistaken-cranefly crane-fly

Midges – Swarm but don’t bite!

These small insects are often confused as mosquitoes but a KEY difference is that MIDGES don’t bite. Although they’re similar in size to a mosquito, midges are found swarming in areas with mud on bottoms of lakes, ponds, spreading basins, and flood control channels. While midges don’t bite, they are considered a nuisance and create issues in communities near rivers, especially from spring to fall. Learn more about our district’s efforts to deal with midges here.

Unlike midges, mosquitoes in Los Angeles County DO NOT SWARM!

Insects-mistaken-midge midge

Fungus Gnat

Fungus gnats are about the same size of a mosquito and range between 1/8 to 3/8 of an inch.  Unlike the mosquito, fungus gnats DO NOT BITE but are known to swarm. These small insects become a problem from winter to spring and develop in fungus or moist decaying vegetation.

Insects-mistaken-fungusgnat fungus_gnat

Quick Mosquito ID Tip:

Smaller than a quarter + it’s biting = Most likely mosquitoes!
Don’t be fooled. Get more info on mosquitoes HERE.