Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

What’s With All the Crane Flies This Year?

Photo by Nathan Bernier/KUT News

Monica Malone, general manager at J&J Pest Control, holds a sticky strip covered in dead crane flies.

You’ve probably seen them hovering at your windows or waiting at your door. A few may have even flown into your house. They look like giant mosquitoes, and they appear to be everywhere this season. Say hello to the Crane Fly.

As Texas A&M University points out on its site devoted to the fly, “large numbers of adult crane flies can be a nuisance indoors” but they are “medically harmless.”

So why are there so many flying around this year? For StateImpact Texas partner KUT News, Nathan Bernier looks at how a dry year followed by a wetter-than-usual winter has led to a proliferation of the bug:

The explosion of crane flies is a direct product of two things: the drought killed a bunch of plants, and recent rains helped those dead plants rot. There’s nothing that crane fly larvae love more than rotting plant matter.

Crane flies aren’t the only insect that benefited from the 13 inches to 16 inches of rain Austin has received since January. Fire ants are making a comeback too, says Wizzie Brown, an entomologist with the Texas Agrilife Extension Service. She tries to lure them out of their holes with hot dogs by placing a slice of the meat into a clear pill bottle and waiting about an hour.

Read the full story at KUT.


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