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Changing weather brings out long-legged, flying insects

Updated: Mar. 4, 2020 at 6:05 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The long-legged insects seen buzzing around southern Arizona, often called mosquito-eaters or mosquito hawks, are actually called crane flies.

Katy Gierlach and Jared McKinley, owners of Spadefoot Nursery in Tucson, busted several myths about the insect. The couple said many people confuse crane flies with mosquitoes.

“It's their resemblance to mosquitoes that has people worried, but they don't do anything,” McKinley said.

Crane flies don’t bite people and they don’t eat mosquitoes either.

"In their adult form they don't even eat,” she said. “Some of them don't even have mouths.”

She said springtime is the insect’s mating season and rainy weather brings out even more crane flies.

"Occasionally you'll see one or two, and this year we've seen such a good wet season that there's a lot more,” Gierlach said.

The crane flies aren’t harmful and can have positive benefits on soil.

"Most of their life is spent underground, eating microbes and encouraging soil biology, which helps plants,” McKinley said.

The couple said the insect has a 10 to 14 day adult life span, and will likely start dwindling in population over the next few weeks.

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