Mar 1, 2024 - News

Mosquito hawks swarming in Houston don't eat mosquitoes

Photo of a mosquito hawk on a leaf.

Jump scare! Sorry. Photo: Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images

It's all been overblown. Mosquito hawks, also known as crane flies or skeeter eaters, don't actually eat mosquitoes.

Why it matters: We no longer have to give them grace when they sneak into our homes and cars, writes Axios' Carlie Kollath Wells.

Driving the news: Mosquito hawks — which look a little like winged daddy longlegs — are swarming in Houston.

  • It's common this time of year to have a large emergence of adult mosquito hawks in Houston, says Lauren Davidson, an Entomologist at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
  • There are more mosquito hawks this year, thanks to the rain over the past couple of months. Davidson says it was the "perfect storm of temperature and humidity and moisture."

What they're saying: "They don't eat mosquitoes. They don't bite like mosquitoes. They just kind of look like giant mosquitoes," Davidson says.
"They're completely harmless."

What's their purpose: At the very least, to entertain cats.

  • Some adults feed on nectar, but "they're not great pollinators. They aren't like bees or other flies."
  • Check out this gross photo of a spider eating a mosquito hawk.
  • The larvae are important for breaking down organic matter and improving the soil, Davidson adds.

Pro tip: Mosquito hawks are attracted to light, so if you don't want them gathered by your door, turn off your lights at night, Davidson advises.

The bottom line: "This gangly fly boi," as the HMNS tweeted, "lives for a few days, vibes in your lawn or bouncing off your living wall, then ☠️."

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