Why Do Crane Flies Fly At Your Face?

Picture this: you’re enjoying a peaceful summer evening, basking in the warm breeze and taking in the sights and sounds of nature.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a large and clumsy insect zooms towards your face. Startled, you swat it away and wonder why, on earth, it would fly straight at you.

Well, my friend, that insect is most likely a crane fly. While they may appear intimidating with their long legs and erratic flight patterns, these insects are actually harmless to humans.

But what makes them so drawn to our faces? Let’s dive into the science behind this curious behavior and debunk some misconceptions about these fascinating creatures.

Get ready to discover the truth about why crane flies seem to have a personal vendetta against our faces.

Table of Contents

Understanding Crane Flies

These elongated-legged creatures, also known as daddy longlegs, may appear to have a personal grudge against us. However, their flying tendencies are not purposeful or antagonistic in nature.

Instead, it is their physical and behavioral characteristics that make them prone to unintentionally zooming towards human faces.

Extremely Long and Thin Legs

The primary reason behind crane flies’ inclination to fly at our faces is their long and spindly legs. These six-legged insects utilize their legs for both walking and flying, but they are not well-equipped for precise movements.

Unlike other flying insects with shorter and more agile legs, crane flies struggle with coordination and often end up darting in unpredictable patterns.

Delicate Wings

Aside from having long legs, crane flies also have large, delicate wings that are susceptible to air currents. This renders them vulnerable to sudden gusts of wind or even minor air movements.

As a result, they may lose control of their flight and inadvertently fly toward human faces. This phenomenon is especially common indoors, where the presence of air conditioning or fans can cause air currents.

Poor Eyesight

Another contributing factor to crane flies’ erratic flying behavior is their poor eyesight. These insects have diminutive compound eyes that do not provide clear vision.

Therefore, they rely heavily on their sense of touch to navigate their surroundings. This means that they may accidentally bump into objects or even people without realizing it.

Most Active During Dusk and Dawn

The behavior of crane flies also plays a role in their tendency to fly at human faces. These insects are most active during dusk and dawn when they emerge from hiding to mate and feed.

At these times, they are more likely to fly into buildings and homes, where they can be attracted to light sources. This increases the likelihood of them flying towards human faces, particularly if the person is standing near a light source.

Non-Aggressive Insects

It is crucial to note that crane flies are not aggressive insects. They do not possess stingers or any other form of defense mechanism.

Therefore, their sporadic flying patterns toward human faces are not intentional or aggressive behaviors. It is simply their natural instincts and physical limitations that make them prone to flying at human faces.

Why do crane flies fly at your face?

Light makes crane flies want to come closer. Flies can fly to your eyes and face because they reflect light.

People are not at risk from crane flies. They don’t sting or bite, and they don’t spread illness.

These are some other reasons flies might be buzzing around your face:

Carbon dioxide

The carbon dioxide we breathe out attracts mosquitoes and other bugs that feed on blood.


Flies are always buzzing around your face and hands because the skin close to your face is often empty.

Moisture and salts

House flies are interested in the salts and water that are on your skin and nasal passages.

For adult crane flies, you can use a bug spray or window screens.

Crane Flies Lifespan and Cycle

It’s not a mosquito or a moth, but a crane fly, also known as a daddy longlegs. These long-legged creatures may seem like they have a vendetta against us, but in reality, they are simply living out their short lives in search of love and reproduction.

As someone well-versed in the world of crane flies, I have gathered research notes and previous findings to help you understand their lifespan and cycle. With this knowledge, you can take the necessary steps to rid your home of these pests and enjoy a peaceful evening without any unwelcome visitors.

The Lifecycle of Crane Flies: A Closer Look at the Four Stages

Like most insects, crane flies go through four distinct stages in their lifecycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Let’s delve into each stage to gain a deeper understanding.

Egg Stage: The Beginning

The female crane fly can lay up to 300 eggs on moist ground, typically near water sources or in lawns. These eggs hatch within two weeks and mark the beginning of the crane fly’s journey.

Larva Stage: Feasting on Decay

Once hatched, the larvae of crane flies begin to feed on decaying organic matter or plant roots found in the soil. They can survive for several months or even years at this stage, depending on environmental conditions.

Pupa Stage: Transformation Begins

When the larvae reach maturity, they form pupae in the soil. These pupae are brown or black and resemble small barrels.

During this stage, the crane fly undergoes metamorphosis and transforms into its adult form. The pupal stage usually lasts for a few weeks.

Adult Stage: Short but Eventful

Finally, the adult crane fly emerges from the pupae from August to October. They have delicate wings, poor eyesight, and are most active at dusk and dawn.

Sadly, their adult stage is also the shortest, lasting just a few days or weeks. During this time, they mate and lay eggs, completing the cycle.

How Long Does the Adult Stage Typically Last?

As mentioned earlier, the adult stage of a crane fly is short-lived, lasting only a few days or weeks.

Habitat and Distribution

Crane flies are commonly found in moist habitats, such as along the shores of lakes and streams. They also thrive in meadows, wetlands, and even deserts. However, their preferred habitat is often damp areas with plenty of vegetation, making lawns and gardens prime locations for these insects.

As someone who has dealt with numerous pest control situations, I can assure you that keeping your lawn well-maintained and free of excess moisture is crucial to preventing these pests from taking over your living space.

While crane flies prefer outdoor habitats, they can also be found near homes, particularly on external walls and window screens. This is because adult cranes only live on land and are attracted to the lights coming from our homes at night. They may also be drawn to the warmth emanating from our homes during the cooler months. If you reside near wooded areas or open fields, you may notice a higher population of crane flies around your property, as these areas provide ideal habitats for these insects to reproduce and thrive.

To eliminate crane flies from your home, it’s crucial to understand their preferred habitats and distribution. The key is to eliminate these habitats and prevent them from entering your living space.

This means properly maintaining your lawn, fixing any sources of excess moisture, and sealing any cracks or openings in your home’s exterior. You can also use natural remedies like essential oils or fly traps to keep crane flies at bay.

Feeding and Role in Ecosystem

As a homeowner, you may view crane flies as nothing more than a bothersome pest that infiltrates your living space. Yet, did you know that these seemingly innocuous insects are actually integral players in our ecosystem? In this segment, we will delve into the significance of crane fly larvae and why their presence is crucial to the environment.

A Vital Source of Nourishment for Animals

Despite their reputation as pests, crane fly larvae serve as a vital source of nourishment for a multitude of animals. Birds, hedgehogs, and foxes are just a few of the creatures that rely on these larvae for sustenance. These insects are rich in protein and provide essential nutrients for these animals to flourish. Without the presence of crane fly larvae, the food chain within our ecosystem would be disrupted, resulting in adverse effects on other species.

Soil Aeration

One of the most essential roles of crane fly larvae is their ability to aerate the soil. These insects reside underground and feed on organic matter, creating tunnels as they traverse through the soil. This process effectively loosens compacted soil, enabling air and water to infiltrate deeper into the ground. As a result, plants can develop healthier and more robust roots, leading to a more vibrant ecosystem.

Decomposition Assistance

Crane fly larvae also play a critical role in the decomposition process. They break down organic matter, such as fallen leaves and decaying plants, into smaller fragments. This not only aids in keeping our environment clean but also releases vital nutrients back into the soil. Without these insects, organic matter would accumulate and create an imbalance within the ecosystem.

Essential in Stream Ecosystems

In stream ecosystems, crane fly larvae are particularly vital. As they break down fallen leaves and other debris, they create a valuable source of food for smaller organisms such as aquatic insects and fish. This process helps to maintain a healthy equilibrium in stream ecosystems and supports a diverse array of species.

Misconceptions about Crane Flies

In regards to crane flies, a plethora of misconceptions circulate, often leading to fear and misinterpretation of these harmless insects. From confusing them with colossal mosquitoes to assuming they are pests in need of eradication, it is time to debunk these prevalent misconceptions and uncover the reality behind crane flies and their significance in the ecosystem.

Myth #1: Crane Flies are Enormous Mosquitoes

One of the most widespread misconceptions about crane flies is that they are giant mosquitoes. Although they may bear a resemblance with their lengthy legs and slender bodies, crane flies actually belong to the fly family Tipulidae. Unlike mosquitoes, crane flies do not bite or transmit diseases. In fact, they pose no threat to humans and are entirely benign to our well-being.

Myth #2: Crane Flies are Nuisance Pests

Due to their size, crane flies can sometimes be perceived as a nuisance. However, they are not pests. As adults, crane flies have a brief lifespan of only two weeks, and during this time, their primary objective is to mate and lay eggs. They do not cause any damage to our homes or gardens.

Myth #3: Crane Flies Prey on Mosquitoes

Some individuals believe that because crane flies resemble mosquitoes, they must consume them. This is simply untrue. Crane flies do not feed on other insects, including mosquitoes. Their primary source of sustenance is nectar, making them vital pollinators in our ecosystem.

Myth #4: Crane Flies Only Reside Near Water

While it is accurate to say that crane flies are commonly found near water sources, this is not their exclusive habitat. They can also be found in meadows, gardens, and other grassy areas. They gravitate towards moist environments but do not depend on water for survival.

Myth #5: Crane Flies Inflict Damage Upon Lawns

Another prevalent misconception is that crane fly larvae harm lawns. While their larvae do consume decaying plant matter, they do not directly cause harm to lawns. In fact, their feeding contributes to the recycling of nutrients and promotes healthy soil. Any potential harm to lawns can be prevented through simple maintenance and irrigation practices.

Why Crane Flies Fly at Your Face

The crane fly, also known as the mosquito hawk or Daddy Long Legs, has long been a subject of perplexity and even fear among many. Why do these seemingly harmless insects insist on buzzing around our faces?

Here, we will delve into the intricate factors that attract crane flies to fly near or at our faces and dispel some common misconceptions surrounding these captivating creatures.

Lured by Carbon Dioxide

The first element that draws craneflies to our faces is the carbon dioxide we exhale. Similar to mosquitoes, these flies are enticed by the carbon dioxide we emit when we breathe, aiding them in locating exposed skin areas. Our faces, being one of the most exposed parts of our body, become a prime target for these insects.

Sensory System for Uncovered Skin

Apart from being allured by carbon dioxide, crane flies possess a sensory system that helps them detect areas of uncovered skin. Hence, they often fly near or at our faces, as it is a prominent feature of our bodies.

Habitat and Life Cycle

Humid environments with dense vegetation, such as gardens or forests, are the preferred abodes for crane flies. Additionally, they undergo metamorphosis in four stages and spend their winter underground. During their adult stage, they do not feed much and have a brief lifespan of 10–15 days.

Reproduction and Egg Laying

Female crane flies lay their eggs on dry soil or water bodies, and some may fall off during flight. This could be another reason why they tend to fly close to our faces—they may be searching for suitable spots to lay their eggs.

Seasonal Emergence

Crane flies emerge during the fall and spring seasons, making them less visible throughout the year. However, during these times, they can become more abundant and may be observed flying around more frequently.

Myth Busting: Crane Flies are Not Harmful or Poisonous

Despite their misleading monikers of “mosquito hawks” or “daddy long legs,” crane flies are not harmful insects. They do not feed on mosquitoes or human blood, nor are they aggressive or detrimental to humans or pets. In reality, these intriguing insects are crucial pollinators and play a vital role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

Moreover, there is a common misconception that crane flies are poisonous, but this is entirely false.

Controlling Crane Fly Population

Crane flies, also known as “daddy long legs,” may appear to be harmless and intriguing creatures with their elongated, spindly legs and delicate wings. However, these seemingly benign insects can cause chaos on your lawn if their populations are not controlled. Here’s everything you need to know about handling crane fly overpopulation on your lawn.

What Exactly are Crane Flies?

Before delving into effective methods for managing crane fly overpopulation, let’s first grasp the concept of these insects and why they can be a nuisance. Contrary to popular belief, crane flies are not large mosquitoes or even related to them. They actually belong to the Tipulidae family, which comprises over 15,000 species around the globe.

Crane flies are often mistaken for mosquitoes due to their similar appearance, but they do not pose any health risks to humans. In fact, they do not possess mouthparts and cannot bite or sting. However, they can still cause harm to lawns and plants during their larval stage.

Managing Crane Fly Overpopulation in Your Lawn

Regularly Roll or Scarify Your Lawn

One effective way to control crane fly overpopulation is by disrupting their egg-laying process. These insects lay their eggs in moist soil and grass, so by regularly rolling or scarifying your lawn, you can disturb the eggs and prevent them from hatching.

Encourage Natural Predators

Birds, predatory beetles, and parasitic nematodes are all natural predators of crane flies. By creating an environment that attracts these insects, you can reduce crane fly populations without using harsh chemicals.

Maintain a Healthy Lawn

A well-maintained lawn is less susceptible to damage from crane fly larvae. Proper watering, mowing, fertilizing, and aerating will help promote a strong and resilient lawn that can withstand some crane fly activity.

Implement Beneficial Nematodes

Beneficial nematodes are tiny, parasitic worms that can assist in controlling crane fly populations. They infect and kill the larvae, effectively reducing their numbers on your lawn.

Set Up a Bird Feeder

As mentioned earlier, birds are natural predators of crane flies. Setting up a bird feeder with bird food that attracts birds in your area can help keep crane fly populations in check.

Crane Flies and Other Species

As you sit on your porch or work in your garden, you may encounter a variety of pesky insects. Some are easily recognizable, while others may leave you puzzled.

In this section, we will delve into the world of crane flies and compare them to two common household pests – mosquitoes and daddy longlegs – to help you gain a better understanding of these creatures and effectively eliminate them from your home.

Distinctive Appearances and Behaviors

At first glance, crane flies, mosquitoes, and daddy longlegs may seem similar. However, upon closer inspection, there are key differences that set them apart. Crane flies, also known as mosquito hawks or mosquito eaters, have long, slender bodies and a single pair of wings. They thrive in damp environments and do not feed as adults.

In comparison, mosquitoes are smaller than crane flies and have a distinct proboscis for feeding on blood. They are drawn to stagnant water and can spread diseases to humans and animals through their bites. Daddy longlegs have longer legs than both crane flies and mosquitoes, and belong to a different order of insects called Opiliones.

The Importance of Mayflies

While discussing crane flies, it is essential to mention another species that is often mistaken for them – mayflies. Despite some similarities in appearance, there are notable differences between the two. Mayflies have a slender body with a large eye-to-body ratio, multiple pairs of wings, and tails. They come in various colors and can coexist with other species in one water source.

Unlike crane flies that prefer moist environments, mayfly nymphs can also be found in clear, shallow water. They sustain themselves by feeding on algae, organic matter, and even decaying animals and plants. Interestingly, the wings of mayflies resemble those of butterflies, with large triangular wings in front and smaller round wings behind.

Effective Pest Control for Homes

Now that we have a better understanding of these species, let us explore the best methods for controlling them in our homes. While crane flies, daddy longlegs, and mayflies do not pose a direct threat to humans, they can still be a nuisance. Here are some effective techniques to eliminate them from your home:

Regularly rolling or scarifying your lawn – This method involves removing the top layer of your lawn to expose and dry out the larvae. It is particularly useful for getting rid of crane fly larvae.