Spring time is just about upon us in East Texas. That means that we will start having to battle all kinds of insects. These insects will be of both the flying and crawling kind. Some of these insects could get onto our skin and give us a hard bite before flying or jumping off. Some could spread a disease that will give us some light symptoms for a couple of days or make us very ill for several days. Some insects are nothing more than a huge annoyance. One such insect is known as a mosquito hawk. Here's why we shouldn't kill them.

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Common Myth of Mosquito Hawks

The most common myth about mosquito hawks, actual name is crane fly, is that they feed on mosquitos. As great as that sounds, mosquitos are not in their diet. In fact, mosquito hawks don't have the mouthparts to be a predator of mosquitos or of humans. According to Matthew Bertone, PhD, North Carolina State University Department of Entomology, mosquito hawks eat very little, if at all. He says that some can "sponge up liquids" like dew but most will visit flowers for their nectar. They are harmless to us and cannot bite us nor will they attack us.

Life Span of a Mosquito Hawk

When you see an adult mosquito hawk, you will only see it for a few days as that is their typical life span. The rest of their life, up to three years, is spent in the larva stage in streams, ponds or other damp places. When they do become an adult, they basically mate for a few days then die (entomologytoday.org).

Various Sizes of Mosquito Hawks

As we see a lot in East Texas, mosquito hawks can range from being very small to two to three inches in length. Their eyes can also be very large but scientists still don't know how good their eye sight is or how sight is used to fly around.

Benefits of Mosquito Hawks

Yes, as annoying as mosquito hawks are, they do serve a purpose. In the larva stage, they will feed on decaying organic matter which can release carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus which helps plant growth. Mosquito hawks larva and adults are also food for other animals and insects like spiders, fish, frogs, toads and birds (alamogordonews.com).

So, No, Don't Kill Them

Look, mosquito hawks, crane flies, skeeter eater, whatever you call them, are extremely annoying and somewhat scary looking. But don't kill them. If they get in your home, try to shoo them out of the house so they can be a bird or spider's next meal.

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