9 Completely different Varieties of Bugs that Look Like Mosquitoes

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A close up photo of mosquito perched on a thick leaf.

Aargh! Mosquitoes! Universally loathed bugs able to retaining you up all night time with their irritating buzzing sounds, and itchy bites. It’s no surprise most individuals are fast to slap the dwelling hell out of them once they land wherever shut.

However do you know not each bug with an extended, needle-like mouthpart, and a teeny tiny physique is a mosquito? Some are simply strange bugs making an attempt to reside their greatest lives. Don’t imagine it? Listed below are 13 bugs that seem like mosquitoes.

1. Crane Flies

Closeup shot of crane fly on a green leaf.

Crane flies are probably the most well-known of bugs that seem like mosquitoes. They’re popularly generally known as large mosquitoes, or mosquito hawks resulting from their easily-distinguishable giant dimension, however are confused for mosquitoes resulting from their lengthy, needle-like mouths. Crane flies range in dimension relying on species, however sometimes vary between 15mm, and 25mm lengthy.

They’ve an extended, skinny physique with a pointed mouthpart, and very lengthy legs, therefore their different nickname; daddy longlegs. Regardless of being giant and scary, crane flies are probably the most innocent of bugs. They don’t chew, and opposite to widespread opinion, don’t feed on common mosquitoes.

The truth is, crane flies solely feed of their larvae stage, and even throughout this era, they’ll solely feed on decaying natural matter, and the roots of grass and different crops, which makes them important to ecological decomposition. Observe, 95% of a crane fly’s life is spent as a larva, and might final so long as three years, and generally even longer. Their larvae, generally generally known as leatherjackets resulting from their robust coat, are cylindrical-shaped, and seem like worms.

Crane flies’ larval life is spent in water, and infrequently, particularly throughout floods, they might attain plant fields, lawns, and pastures, turning into cussed pests. However apart from that crane flies are usually innocent. As soon as they flip into adults, crane flies spend the remaining a part of their life discovering a mate, laying eggs, and sleeping.

They particularly sleep loads to preserve vitality since they depend on meals they ate as larvae. Crane flies might sometimes nip on some nectar or discover water, however would by no means chew you. So, the subsequent time you come throughout one, simply depart or not it’s because it’s both simply making an attempt to get some sleep, discover love (like most of us are), or if it’s a feminine, someplace to drop some eggs for its subsequent technology.

2. Dance Flies

Macro shot of hybotid dance fly.

Dance flies are small to medium-sized flies, sometimes between 1mm and 6mm that change in form from slender and elongated, to robustly constructed. They belong to the household Empididae, of the order Diptera, and can be found in an array of species (as much as 1700) unfold out by means of North America. However regardless of the form or dimension, all dance flies sometimes have spherical heads, lengthy necks, and lengthy skinny, mosquito-like legs.

The males have crimson eyes that seem like helmets, with out conspicuous reproductive organs on the tip of their stomach, whereas the females have fringed legs, and in contrast to the males, have eyes that don’t meet within the center. Dance flies are innocent to people. They sometimes feed on nectar however are additionally carnivores who hunt and eat small bugs in shady areas, or underneath vegetation.

They’re notably useful in retaining bugs away from your private home as a result of additionally they hunt small bugs interested in porches at night time, together with their irritating look-alikes; the mosquitoes. So, don’t be fast to repel them. You possibly can encourage them by rising a wide range of flowering shrubs, and herbaceous vegetation.

They’re famously generally known as dance flies as a result of the male species are likely to swarm in giant teams and carry out synchronized dances to draw females. They dance over bushes, and landmarks resembling ponds, fences, and even generally, your head for those who keep nonetheless sufficient. As soon as a feminine enters the swarm, a male fly wraps a prey insect, resembling a fly, or mosquito in a silk ball, and presents it to the previous.

Mating solely happens when the feminine accepts and eats the reward. Moreover the reward, one other attention-grabbing bit about their distinctive mating ritual is that the feminine solely selects its mate primarily based on the dimensions of the match offered. Additionally, males usually tend to current their items to females with closely fringed legs and because of this, feminine dance flies will generally inflate their air sacs to spice up their desirability.

Some male dance flies are additionally identified to play misleading video games by presenting empty silk balloons to the females. That is fairly attention-grabbing for such a tiny fly for those who ask me.

3. Fungus Gnats

Small insect Mycetophilidae fungus gnats.

Fungus gnats are tiny (often about 1.5mm to 3mm in size) darkish bugs that make up the superfamily Sciaroidea. Grownup gnats are grayish black with clear, or generally, grey wings, lengthy legs, and lengthy antennae, options that give them a mosquito-like look, however are straightforward to differentiate resulting from their tiny, flea-like dimension. Fungus gnats endure a whole metamorphosis, often beginning as tiny, oval, shiny, semi-transparent eggs laid by the feminine in teams of ten or extra, on the floor soil.

The feminine can lay as much as 100 eggs inside the first few days of rising from its pupal stage. Eggs often take about six days to hatch into larvae worms with a shiny black head, and a white, or clear physique that feeds on fungi discovered rising on soil. When laid in best environmental situations, the larvae help in decomposing natural matter however sadly, most fungus gnats are predatory and have a tendency to trigger in depth harm to houseplants by feeding on the tender roots and stems beneath the medium floor.

After their larval stage, fungus gnats pupate in both the soil or the plant for 4-6 days, after which the adults emerge finishing the cycle. Each female and male grownup fungus gnats feed on water and nectar and are occasional pollinators. After rising as adults, they reside between 8-10 days, throughout which feminine gnats lay as much as 300 eggs.

The hotter it’s, the sooner their life cycle, and the extra eggs a feminine produces. They’re interested in dump soil and natural materials which explains why they infest potted family vegetation. Permit your potting soil to dry between watering to maintain them away out of your houseplants but when the issue persists, discover alternate options resembling DIY sticky traps, or non-chemical merchandise that include BTI, a pure, soil bacterium particularly poisonous to mosquito, fungus gnat, and black fly larvae.

Aside from damaging houseplants, fungus gnats don’t chew and are innocent however could be extremely annoying as a result of they fly into human noses, eyes, and faces. However this shouldn’t fear you as a result of they’re weak flyers that want strolling quickly over flying which means you’ll be able to simply whack one away when the necessity arises.


Bugs splattered on sunglasses.

Midges is a collective identify for the completely different species of small, two-winged, mosquito-like flies from the household Chironomidae. Most are non-biting, however some, like their look-alikes, can chew and are fairly cussed. Midges are often discovered close to ponds, streams, and different comparable water our bodies.

They’re usually confused for mosquitoes resulting from their slim wings, and lengthy, skinny legs. Their shut resemblance to mosquitoes is nonetheless no shock since each belong to the identical order; Diptera. However not like mosquitoes, midges don’t land or relaxation on their hind legs.

They as an alternative land and relaxation on their entrance pair of legs as if praying. Not all midges resemble the mosquito although. So, try particulars of midges that maintain an especially shut resemblance to mosquitoes beneath.

1. The Buzzer Midge

Buzzer midge (Chironomus plumosus) sitting on a branch on blue sky background.

The buzzer midge, scientifically generally known as Chironomus plumosus is a non-biting midge species largely discovered within the northern hemisphere. It ranges in colours, from brown, and inexperienced, to black relying on its surroundings. An grownup buzzer midge has a slim physique and varies in size from 3mm lengthy, to 30mm lengthy.

It’s additionally slim with darkish brown bands on the finish of every belly section. Males spot feathery antennae however females are smooth. Females lay giant plenty of eggs in water.

The eggs sink to the underside after some time and develop in silk, tube-like tunnels throughout their larval stage. Throughout this stage, their larvae, generally generally known as bloodworms resulting from their vibrant colours might sometimes emerge, and drift to the floor, the place they’re eaten by trout and different surface-feeding fish. Of their pupal stage, buzzer midges usually drift to the floor the place they relaxation for some time earlier than rising as grownup flies.

Some might not survive although since they’re extremely susceptible and uncovered throughout this stage. Once they emerge as grownup flies, buzzer midges fly in swarms and make loud buzzing sounds which generally is a nuisance, however usually aren’t harmful.

2. The Harlequin Fly

Harlequin bug or cotton harlequin bug is foraging on the Malay pink apple flower.

The Harlequin fly is a non-biting midge species scientifically known as Chironomus riparius. It’s generally present in freshwater our bodies in North America, and a few elements of Europe and is broadly used as a mannequin in genome construction evaluation, and genetic research in toxicology. Like most midge species, the harlequin fly begins its life as a larva on the backside of a water physique in silken burrows till it turns into an grownup.

Its larvae are also called bloodworms resulting from their crimson coloration. As soon as it reaches maturity, the harlequin fly drifts to the floor of the water physique the place it sheds its exoskeleton fragments and flies away. Observe, just like most midge, it’s additionally topic to predation by surface-feeding fish each in its larval, and grownup levels.

Male harlequin flies often fly in giant mating swarms which the feminine joins and selects a mate.  And though they don’t chew, they’ve been confirmed to be illness vectors in each their grownup and larvae levels. Moreover, as a result of they emerge in giant numbers after their larvae stage, they depart behind a whole lot of exoskeleton fragments within the water our bodies from which they’ve hatched.

These fragments coupled with different decaying natural matter can result in bronchial asthma and conjunctivitis by inhalation, so it’s greatest to steer clear from their breeding environments.

3. Culicoides variipennis

Culicoides variipennis also called the lengthy biting midge is a midge species generally present in North America the place its giant mammal hosts are sometimes discovered. It’s a few millimeter lengthy, and options noticed, barely veiny wings, however has lengthy legs that make it seem like a mosquito at first look. Lengthy biting midges reside between 6 months and three years relying on their surroundings.

They’re vectors for varied illnesses together with the African horse illness virus, epizootic hemorrhagic illness, and Bluetongue virus amongst others. Females feed on blood, so it’s greatest to keep away from them or whack them down at any time when they fly close to you. The larvae feed on dying organisms or natural matter and may thrive close to inventory tanks the place manure has been stomped into the soil, or round sewage tank shops.

In contrast to most midges which have red-colored worms as larvae, the lengthy biting midge is clear, to orange-ish throughout its larval stage which may final wherever between 15 and 23 days.  

4. Sandfly

San Fly insect Illustration on white background.

Because the identify implies, the sand fly is often present in sandy areas. It’s about 3mm lengthy and has six lengthy legs with an extended, piercing mouthpart. The sand fly is often both golden, brownish, or grey, and has bushy V-shaped wings.

They maintain their wings in a vertical V-shape at relaxation. Sand flies endure a whole metamorphosis which means they begin as eggs, earlier than being larvae, and later transition to pupa and adults. Identical to mosquitoes, solely feminine sandflies are blood feeders.

They devour blood to realize sufficient protein to develop eggs and often lay about 30-70 eggs at a go on moist surfaces resembling soil in high-humidity areas. Eggs take about two weeks to hatch, after which, they transition into worms with J-shaped, whitish worms as larvae. They spend about three weeks within the larval stage throughout which they feed on natural matter.

Observe, nonetheless, that the larval stage might last more if the world is chilly. A couple of days earlier than transitioning right into a pupa, their larvae cease feeding and search out a dry surroundings for pupation. The pupal stage lasts about two weeks after which they emerge as adults, and wait until darkish to fly away beginning with the males.

They often relaxation in shrubs or thick layers of natural matter in the course of the day, and like mosquitoes, emerge within the evenings and keep all through the night time feeding. Sand flies are simply carried by the wind which means they usually fly in swarms particularly after rising as adults after the pupal stage. But it surely’s not unusual to come back throughout a solo sand fly.

Of bugs that seem like mosquitoes, the sand fly is amongst these it’s best to steer clear from. They depart behind small, extraordinarily itchy welts which grow to be extra painful over the subsequent seven days. They’re additionally carriers of a wide range of illnesses together with sandfly fever and leishmaniasis.

You possibly can distinguish them from innocent bugs that seem like mosquitoes by means of their bushy look, and distinctive, V-shaped wing-rest place.

5. The Biting Midge Fly

High definition shot of a Midge fly perched on a leaf against black background.

Leptoconops torrens famously generally known as the biting midge fly is a tiny, 1.6mm lengthy fly discovered within the southwest, and southeast areas of the USA. Females have antennae segments, and stout abdomens, whereas males largely spot hair across the eye space. Their larvae are clear with heavily-chitinized mandibles which are seen by means of the top.

You possibly can distinguish male from feminine larvae by means of dimension. Grownup biting midges reside in alkaline soil with a 40% clay composition whereas the larvae thrive in damp soils, however you may additionally discover them in aquatic environments. Solely females feed on blood.

Male midges of this species feed on nectar from vegetation, or honeydew created by different bugs. After taking blood meals from warm-blooded animals and different vertebrates, feminine biting midges enter and keep beneath soil cracks for just a few days to put eggs. The larvae emerge as adults when the clay soil is dry and cracks have fashioned however notice, that they might enter into diapause for as much as three years if the situations aren’t proper.

The males often emerge from the pupal stage sooner than females and are prepared to start out mating as quickly because the latter emerges. Males fly in mating swarms to draw females. Leptoconops torrens are additionally amongst mosquito-like bugs that you just wish to steer clear of as they not solely chew, they’re so small you wouldn’t simply spot it when it bites.

Therefore its nickname, the no-see-um fly. Their bites as with most biting midges, are extraordinarily itchy and depart you with an infected swelling that persistently itches for about seven days, and generally even weeks, lastly therapeutic with a particular crimson scar. They like to cover beneath garments and can chew in factors the place their motion is impeded resembling round rolled sleeves, or the belt line.

6. Mayflies

Close up of a beautiful Mayfly with textured wings, sitting on my finger in sunlight.

Typically known as shad, or fish flies, mayflies are a gaggle of aquatic bugs identified for his or her extraordinarily quick lifespan (a few day or so for adults). They exist globally, with over 3,000 species already recognized. Mayflies are present in streams, rivers, and different clear, and unpolluted aquatic our bodies.

On account of this, they’re usually used as a bio-indicator of unpolluted, unpolluted, and highly-oxygenated water our bodies. Mayflies are slender, with an elongated stomach and antennae, six legs, and two pairs of wings. They range in colour from grey to brown, and yellow, with clear to pale wings.

Relying on the species, mayflies even have two, to 3 tails which are sometimes longer than their our bodies and have a tendency to carry their wings above the physique at relaxation. Mayflies begin and reside longest (as much as a number of years) as nymphs. Consequently, their nymphal type is extremely elaborate and surprisingly sturdy.

They usually characteristic a cylindrical, barely flattened physique that molts and will increase by means of a number of instars. The top has a troublesome sclerotin cowl with onerous ridges and projections with robust mandibles appropriate for chewing. They’ve three thoracal segments and ten belly ones.

In contrast to most bugs that hatch into adults after their larval stage, mayfly nymphs molt right into a subimago, a winged type that bodily resembles an grownup mayfly, however is uninteresting, and has undeveloped genitalia. The subimago molts into an imago(grownup) after two days, and in some species, even minutes. Mayflies are the one bugs with a winged type that undergoes additional molting earlier than buying practical wings.

On account of their extremely quick life, grownup mayflies don’t feed. They don’t even have mouth elements, however will briefly contact the water floor to quench their thirst earlier than flying off. Observe, nonetheless, that their nymphs usually devour natural matter in water our bodies.

Moreover, each their nymphal and grownup types are a favourite for many fish, which is why they’re utilized by anglers as bait. Male imagos patrol individually, however congregate in swarms just a few meters above the water in the course of the mating season for his or her mating dance to draw the females.